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The Littlest Hobo is a Canadian television series based upon a 1958 American film of the same name directed by Charles R. Rondeau. The series first aired from 1963 to 1965 in syndication, and was revived for a popular second run on CTV from October 11, 1979 to March 7, 1985. It starred an ownerless dog.
All three productions revolved around a stray German Shepherd, the titular Hobo, who wanders from town to town, helping people in need. Although the concept (of a dog saving the day) was perhaps similar to that of Lassie, the Littlest Hobo's destiny was to befriend those who apparently needed help. Despite the attempts of the many people whom he helped to adopt him, he appeared to prefer to be on his own, and would head off by himself at the end of each episode.
Never actually named on-screen, the dog is often referred to by the name Hobo or by the names given by temporary human companions. Hobo's background is also unexplained on-screen, his origins, motivation and ultimate destination are never explained.
Although some characters appeared in more than one episode, the only constant was the Littlest Hobo himself.

1963-1965 series
Following the 1958 film, the 1960s TV series was aired in syndication around the world, and is best remembered[citation needed] for a scene (later included in the closing credits of most episodes) showing the dog actually riding a parachute. This was before animal treatment regulations discouraged such activity in film productions.[citation needed]
Although the series was originally broadcast in black and white, it was in fact produced in colour. The VCI Entertainment DVD release of the series featured the colour versions of the episodes, except for the opening and closing credits which have only survived in black and white.
The German shepherd dogs featured in both 1960s and 1980s series were owned and trained by Charles (Chuck) P. Eisenmann. The primary star was London, but several of London's relatives, including Toro, Litlon, and Thorn, also played scenes as the Hobo. Chuck used his own training methods to work with his dogs which involved educating them to think and understand very specific directions, to recognize colors and to understand English, German and French.He promoted his education method by touring with his dogs to offer live demonstrations, appearing on TV and radio shows and by writing books.[3] Eisenmann recounts many stories from the filming of the series in his 1968 dog training book Stop! Sit! and Think. Other books he wrote include The Better Dog: The Educated Dog which contains updated training material and A Dog’s Day in Court which offers a dog's point of view towards training methods.
The dogs are German Shepherds with "reverse mask" markings. After purchasing London, Chuck began to breed his own dogs. Mostly studding out his males, even though he owned some females that he bred to as well. He bred particularly for the reverse mask, that is commonly seen on all of his dogs, and is unpopular with breeders of the German Shepherd dog as it is not in the breed standard. There is no proof of the German Shepherd bloodline for London and so there is speculation that another breed could have been mixed in 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.[citation needed]
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.
1979-1985 series

In 1979 CTV revived the series. The New Littlest Hobo (as it was sometimes called), which ran for six seasons, was shot on videotape rather than film. It has since been syndicated in many countries including the USA and UK. In the course of its run, A mixture of well-known Canadian and Hollywood guest stars appeared such as Al Waxman, John Ireland, Megan Follows, Alan Hale, Jr., August Schellenberg, DeForest Kelley, Ray Walston, Morey Amsterdam, Michael Ironside, Patrick Macnee, Abe Vigoda, Saul Rubinek, John Vernon, Chris Makepeace, Karen Kain, Vic Morrow, Henry Gibson, John Carradine and Leslie Nielsen. In 1979, 16-year-old Mike Myers made an early acting appearance playing a paraplegic boy's friend in the episode "Boy on Wheels".

The series aired on CTV on Thursday nights at 7:30 P.M.
Plots ranged from the simple "dog-helps-person" stories to secret agent-type adventures. The series theme song, "Maybe Tomorrow", was sung by Terry Bush. In 2005, Bush commercially released the song on his debut album, entitled Maybe Tomorrow.[5] The song was later used in a 2011 advert for Dulux paint.
In a surprising development in the show, season 5's two-part episode "The Genesis Tapes" revealed that Hobo was indeed the same exact and long lived dog as the dog in the 1960s series and this was explained away as him being the next stage of canine evolution. This also explains his higher intelligence. The episode's plot primarily revolves along Hobo's effort to destroy all evidence of his origins, which he successfully does. Both chapters feature flashback footage from the first five seasons of the series, with Part 1 also being the only episode of the revival series to include footage from the original 1960s series.
Trainer Chuck Eisenmann used several dogs to play the role of "London" as he had selected dogs entirely based on their appearance. He determined which dogs to use for the scenes by making use of their abilities such as if one dog did not mind carrying objects or if one were small enough to safely jump through a car window and maneuver through the seats. In Chuck's bookA Dog's Day in Court one of the dogs used in the 1970s series was London's grandson, who was also known as London.
This series, which remains a popular children's program, continues to be shown as reruns on CTV, CTV Two and other national networks.
A 2005 episode of the CTV sitcom Corner Gas entitled "The Littlest Yarbo" pays tribute to the series by having a character convinced that a stray dog visiting the town is Hobo (even though the dog is a completely different breed). The episode ends with a reprise of Terry Bush's "Maybe Tomorrow" theme song.

Reproduced from Wikipedia

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