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The Littlest Hobo

Updated on June 12, 2012

Meet London!

The Littlest Hobo is a wonderful Canadian TV series starring a German Shepherd named London. It follows the life of a stray dog who wanders from adventure to adventure, Lassie-style, but who always remains owner-less and moves on at the end of each episode.

The series was first broadcast in 1963 and ran until 1965. It was based on a 1958 film of the same name, and this original series included a very memorable scene of the dog parachuting (filmed before animal treatment regulations forbade such filming activities!) which was later included in the closing credits of most episodes.

I am more familiar with the later series, however, which originally aired from 1979 to 1985 after the show was brought back for a popular second run. Here in the UK, I used to enjoy watching it in the nineties as a teenager.

The dog is unnamed in the show, and usually referred to as Hobo after the title. The dog who played him was known as London, but there were, in fact, several Londons!

Aside from lovely London, one of the most famous things about the series is the theme tune, "Maybe Tomorrow", which has become something of a cult song!

This lens looks back at this lovely little series and showcases the exploits of the brilliant Littlest Hobo himself, London!

The Littlest Hobo TV Series

1979-1985

London plays an extremely intelligent, wandering German shepherd who walks into a different place in each episode of this long-running television series, and comes upon people down on their luck or in trouble. He always befriends and helps the struggling person or persons. Then, when his job is done at episode's end, he declines to be the pet of the people he has helped and departs to continue his cross-country drifting.

The series that I remember watching is the second version which ran over six seasons, originally from 1979 to 1985. It is sometimes known as the New Littlest Hobo. This series was colour, and featured an array of stories from dog helps boy to secret agent adventures! This series included the much-loved theme tune "Maybe Tomorrow", sung by Terry Bush, which was released commercially in 2005 by Terry as part of his debut album of the same name.

Some of the adventures Hobo enjoyed included reuniting a mother and baby, rescuing a balloonist, taking on animal trappers, aiding a wrongly-accused "murderer", saving kidnap victims, foiling a dognapping scam, playing Cupid to jilted lovers, helping a handicapped boy and stopping a crime on a film set!

Notable guest stars who went on to become very well known indeed include:

* Mike Myers

* Leslie Nielsen

* Alan Hale, Jr.

* DeForest Kelley

* Morey Amsterdam

* Patrick Macnee

* Vic Morrow

* Henry Gibson

* John Carradine

The show continues to air on CTV today, and was even spoofed in 2005 on CTV's "Corner Gas", in an episode titled, "The Littlest Yarbo", where a mysterious German Shepherd appears in Dog River and Hank is sure it's TV's Littlest Hobo.

The Littlest Hobo Video Tribute

The Littlest Hobo on DVD

All About London

The Real Littlest Hobo!

The Littlest Hobo was played by German Shepherd dogs in both the 1960s and 1980s shows. Owned and trained by Chuck P. Eisenmann, the primary star was named London, but as with many film and TV animal characters, Hobo was played by several dogs, including many of London's relatives by the names of Toro, Litlon and Thorn, according to Wikipedia. Different dogs were used according to their abilities, for example for stunts and other agility-based requirements.

Eisenmann is a dog trainer who wrote several books on the subject. He educated his dogs to think and understand very specific directions, as well as to recognise colours and understand different languages, including English, French and German!

Eisenmann toured with his dogs to spread his method of dog education through live demonstrations. The books he wrote included Stop! Sit! And Think, which includes many stories from the filming of the 1968 Littlest Hobo series. His other books include The Better Dog: The Educated Dog and A Dog's Day in Court. The latter reveals the dog Litlon was London's grandson, and that he was also known as London.

London and his fellow acting dogs are described as German Shepherds, but, like me, I am sure you are probably thinking "London doesn't look like a typical German Shepherd!"

In fact, London and co are German Shepherds with "reverse mask" markings. Eisenmann began to breed his own dogs after buying London, breeding particularly for the reverse mask, common on all of his dogs. This is actually unpopular with breeders of the German Shepherd dog as it is not in the breed standard. According to Wikipedia, there is no proof of London's German Shepherd bloodline, and there is speculation that he is a mixed breed, as that particular brown and white sable with reverse mask coloration is achieved in mixed dog breeds such as the Tamaskan Dog, Northern Inuit and Utonagan.

Wikipedia also states that Shiloh Shepherd dogs are stated to trace their heritage back to London's relatives and are inspired by the intelligence Chuck's dogs were reputed to have.

Charles P. Eisenmann's Dog Training Books

Chuck Eisenmann's books as mentioned above are out of print and hard to find, but Amazon does have stocks occasionally through their marketplace sellers. The books that mention The Littlest Hobo are Stop! Sit! And Think, which includes numerous stories from the set, and A Dog's Day in Court, which links Litlon to London.

The Littlest Hobo - Original TV Series and Film

1963-1965 (film 1958)

The original series was in black and white, and had a different theme tune, which was "Road Without End" by Ronald Stein, performed by Randy Sparks.

Episodes included Cry Wolf, Come Next Fall Session, Blue Water Sailor, Chico, Honor Ranch, and The Great Manhunt.

A recent DVD release of this original series brought the first three episodes to life in colour for the very first time.

Although the series is Canadian, it was based upon a 1958 American film directed by Charles R. Rondeau.

Littlest Hobo Original TV Series Video

The Littlest Hobo Original TV Series on DVD

The Littlest Hobo TV Series: Collection Vol. 1
The Littlest Hobo TV Series: Collection Vol. 1

Filmed in Canada, THE LITTLEST HOBO TV series was originally broadcast in 1963 in black and white, aired for three seasons and then made a noteworthy comeback to even heavier syndication in 1979, this time in color. The show was so popular that it ran until 1985. THE LITTLEST HOBO was one of the few shows on TV to feature something other than a human regular as the star. That unique star - a profoundly intelligent stray German shepherd named Hobo (real name - London) wanders around helping people resolve their crises, and leaving them forever changed in the process. Boundless warmth, humor and suspense combine to make this 12 episode TV collection involving a captivating canine's adventures, a remarkably touching and memorable experience for the entire family. Bonus Features: The first three episodes in the series are available in color for the very first time!| As a bonus, the theme song from the series, "Road Without End" by Ronald Stein and sung by Randy Sparks, is available as a separate selection. Specs: 2-DVD9s; Dolby Digital Mono; 300 minutes; B&W; 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio; MPAA - NR; Year - 1963;

 

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Maybe Tomorrow

I'll want to settle down

Until tomorrow

I'll just keep moving on

Maybe Tomorrow - The Littlest Hobo Theme Song & Lyrics

I adored this theme song when I used to watch the show, and can remember it to this day! I'm not alone - the song became a cult in its own right and was finally released in 2005 when singer Terry Bush released his debut album.

"There's a voice that keeps on calling me

Down the road, that's where I'll always be.

Every stop I make, I make a new friend,

Can't stay for long, just turn around and I'm gone again

Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down,

Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on.

Down this road that never seems to end,

Where new adventure lies just around the bend.

So if you want to join me for a while,

Just grab your hat, come travel light, that's hobo style.

Maybe tomorrow I'll want to settle down,

Until tomorrow, the whole world is my home.

So if you want to join me for a while,

Just grab your hat, come travel light, that's hobo style

Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down,

Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on.

Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down,

Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on.

There's a world that's waiting to unfold,

A brand new tale no-one has ever told.

We've journeyed far far and know it wont be long;

We're almost there, and we've paid our fare with our hobo song.

Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down,

Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on.

So if you want to join me for a while,

Just grab your hat, come travel light, that's hobo style.

Maybe tomorrow, I'll find what I call home, Until tomorrow, you know I'm free"

You can buy a T-shirt featuring London and the line from the theme tune (the design in the picture) from 8 Ball.co.uk.

Buy "Maybe Tomorrow " Littlest Hobo Theme - Terry Bush

The Littlest Hobo Theme is available to download!

Please show your love and appreciation here!

Do You Love The Littlest Hobo?

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    • Missmerfaery444 profile image
      Author

      Missmerfaery444 3 years ago

      @bradisgolfing: What a fantastic project! I hope you find all the information you need, please pop back with an update in the future!

    • profile image

      bradisgolfing 3 years ago

      Nice site, and well done. I am a huge fan of The Littlest Hobo, and in fact I am currently researching as much about the show as I can. My ongoing project which I have been working on for the last year has been to try to determine the major shooting locations for all 114 episodes of the 79-85 series. All (or most all) episodes were shot in and around the GTA, and as a lifelong resident of West Hill and Whitby, it has been a blast seeing what the locations looked like 30-35 years ago as opposed to now, and learning a lot about the local geography and history as well. I would love to get in touch with Jeanette who posted about living near the dogs in South Pickering back in the 80's, or anyone else who has interesting info regarding the series. Please feel free to email me at bradisgolfing@yahoo.ca, I would love to hear from you, especially if you have info on where episodes were shot. Once again, great job on the lens.

    • Missmerfaery444 profile image
      Author

      Missmerfaery444 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing your memories!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I loved this show! What's more, as a kid growing up in the 70's and 80's, I was lucky enough to live in same neighbourhood as London, Lance, Thorn and their brothers and sisters when the show was revived in '79. Their lot backed on to my friend's backyard. When we trick'or'treated in the Pickering, Ontario neighbourhood of Rosebank South, we always made the trek to the Hobos' House where London or one of the other dogs would present us with a black and white professional photo of themselves. I still have the pictures tucked away somewhere.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      - London is the absolute image of my dog Buddy he is an alaskan malamute x border collie, if I could upload a picture I would they people aslways comment on how much he looks like him!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      This was one of the first shows I saw when I came to Canada in 1987, and today it still warms my heart whenever I see it on TV. We love you Hobo!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      tina - loved it as a kid and still love it today....llike special moments the littlest hobo is precious

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 5 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      This is one of my favorite series growing up. I still know the song by heart. I used to watch this with my favorite aunt.

    • Alana-r profile image

      Alana-r 5 years ago

      I loved that show when i was young, its not on television over here now though, shame, i think my kids would really like it. I also now have the song stuck in my head thanks lol.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: My girlfriend has just got a 10 week old German Shepherd x husky and he is an adorable little rescue dog living in south London

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      I can barely remember this show. I know I watched a handful of episodes, but don't remember anything. The same goes for a few other shows from the early 60's and before though. Wow what a star studded cast in today's terms too! Excellent lens, good memories.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: thats really cool and i agree with you that they both look like German Sheperd/Husky cross. Where and when did your husband have the opportunity to meet them dogs???

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      love it

    • Seasons Greetings profile image

      Laura Brown 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I still watch the show in re-runs. It's usually on somewhere on the weekends.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      this dog looks nothing like a German shepherd. I own several shepherds and this dog looks more like a German shepherd/ husky cross.My husband many years ago meet these dogs himself and he agrees with my statement.

    • JohannDog profile image

      Johann The Dog 6 years ago from Northeast Georgia

      How fun!!! I will have to have my Mum check at the library for a DVD we can watch! Thanks and woofs, Johann

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 6 years ago

      I must admit, from the title, that I was thinking something else ... but this sounds pretty amazing!

    • javr profile image

      javr 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I remember that it was very popular in Canada when it was on. This lens has been blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      I used to love that show, thanks for reminding me about it. Featured on my new squidpaw lens.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 6 years ago from USA

      I've never seen it but it looks enjoyable.

    • profile image

      SofiaMann 6 years ago

      It is beautiful. Nice lens. Congratulations.