Do you ever catch an old tv show, cartoon, or movie on late-night television that takes you back to your childhood? A simpler time with simple scripts and wholesome messages?
Some classic memories, for many, include entertainment that had dogs as leading characters or played important roles.
Famous Dogs that Come to Mind Are:
- Petey from the Little Rascals
- Toto, the loyal dog from The Wizard of Oz
- Snoopy with the Peanuts Gang
- Astro from The Jetsons
- Disney dogs Goofy, Pluto, and the timeless 101 Dalmatians
- Clifford the Big Red Dog
- and don’t forget Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
Famous German Shepherd Dogs Include:
- Rin Tin Tin
- Bullet the Wonder Dog
- Max the Bionic Dog from the Bionic Woman
- Jerry Lee from K-9 with James Belushi
A famous German Shepherd named London, who is unknown to many Americans, is from a Canadian TV Series called The Littlest Hobo, which initially aired from 1963 to 1965. London, the German Shepherd, goes from town to town to help people in need.
Here is more about GSD London and The Littlest Hobo.
“There’s nobody who doesn’t love The Littlest Hobo,” says Scarborough resident Rob Garrison.
He should know. Garrison was a writer and story editor on the Canadian series in the 1980s. He also taught English Literature at Centennial College and the University of Toronto.
Garrison describes Hobo as “a human being trapped in a dog’s body.”
“You had to think of Hobo with special qualities, with human understanding, who could recognize dangers and react with empathy.”
Hobo didn’t start out as a Canadian icon. A 1958 Hollywood film about the wandering hero was then a television show from 1963-1965 filmed in Toronto and Vancouver.
The series was revived from 1979 to 1985 by filming all around the Toronto area. In each episode, London would stop to help people in need, then move on.
The Littlest Hobo gave many Toronto actors roles, including a 16-year-old Mike Myers, who played Frisbee in Kew Gardens in the 1979 episode Boy on Wheels.
But the real stars were the incredibly trained dogs that played London and went everywhere with their owner Chuck Eisenmann (1918-2010).
Garrison says, “the real trick of writing for Hobo was working with the dog trainer.” Garrison tells the tale of first meeting the former pro baseball player.
A big, gruff man came into the office with four look-alike shepherds: “Where’s that story, guy? That writer? I see what’s in that typewriter. Put it in the garbage!”
One dog jumped up on the desk, pulled the paper out of the typewriter, and tossed it in the wastebasket. His owner yelled, “Hi there, I’m Chuck!” Garrison adds, “The rest was history.”
Several dogs played London depending on their special talents. Garrison says. “It was always amazing what they could do. You had to know what the dogs could do and put that into action. Would one dog be able to do it?”
One double episode (Sartech 1 and 2) is special to Garrison because his daughter Becky acts in the show. It’s also the highest-rated of all 114 episodes on imdb tv. You can find it on YouTube.
The Beach is featured in several episodes. You can check out what our area looked like in the 1980s, complete with those big, ugly cars.
There’s even a police chase around Glen Manor Drive (and Hobo crosses the wooden bridge) in Duddleman and the Diamond Ring (1980). We see a lot of Queen Street East, including the Goof and the Fox Theatre. Does anyone remember the KFC franchise on Kingston Road, where Hobo saves the day? Diamonds are a Dog’s Best Friend (1979) has Hobo on the Boardwalk. Another episode, Escape (1980), shows the R.C. Harris Water Plant as a prison.
The Littlest Hobo is a trip down memory lane for many Canadian’s and holds a fond place in their hearts.
Episodes of The Littlest Hobo can be found on YouTube, or complete seasons can be purchased on Amazon.