The Littlest Hobo is a well remembered show from the early 1980’s that follows the adventures of a stray german shepherd dog as it travels across America making friends with different humans with problems that the dog somehow manages to help them sort out. Once that weeks adoptive owner had been helped, off the dog went to find another needy human to help.
In the average episode it seemed that the human being helped would normally choose a name for the dog, which always seemed to be something like “lucky” or “champ”, usually chosen because the dog just happened to turn up at a time of need and would help the human achieve some goal they were struggling with. The real name of the dog actor (for want of a better phrase) that portrayed The Littlest Hobo was actually London however.
Whilst there were obvious similarities to that other famous dog star Lassie, I always preferred The Littlest Hobo. Lassie always bored me, as it seemed to just be about some stupid kid getting into trouble every week and the dog coming to the rescue. I also always thought Lassie sounded really sad when she whined. The Littlest Hobo may have been similar in so far as the dog helped a human out of some scrape each week, but at least it was a different human each week, so the storylines seemed less repetitive than Lassie.
I remember when I first came across the show I didn’t know what the word “Hobo” meant, so I thought for ages it must be the breed of the dog. When I later found out it was basically what we in the UK would call a tramp, this confused me further. Where was the ragged old man begging for money? Was he the dogs real owner? Was he very small? Why was the show named after this tramp when it was obviously about a dog? As you can tell it puzzled me at the time!
The show became a stalwart of the BBC’s childrens line up, appearing both in the afternoon kids TV slot on The Broom Cupboard and also during the school holidays in the morning programmes. It seemed like it was good filler material, slotting handily into gaps in the TV schedule as each episode was completely self contained.
Of course, the show will probably be best remembered for its theme song, Maybe Tomorrow, which I’m willing to bet most of you remember the words to even if you don’t remember watching the programme itself. Also, before writing this post I didn’t realise that there was also a film and another TV series from the 1960’s on which the show was based. I wonder what that shows theme song was like?
The video clip below is of the shows opening sequence, so get ready to join in with the theme song. There’s a voice, keeps on calling me…