Everyone knows that the theme to The Littlest Hobo is not only one of the greatest-ever Canadian TV show theme songs, but one of the greatest Canadians songs, period.
But is it a simple, sweet little tune about a cute, wandering dog that helps people in need? Or is more? After all, we never really discovered the origins of the Littlest Hobo. We never even knew his actual name. Did he even have one? What in the world was going on with this dog?
In season five, episodes 13 and 14 (“The Genesis Tapes” parts one and two) the scientist and reporter pursuing the Hobo speculated that he was something called a “meta-canine,” a new, evolutionarily superior species of mysterious origin, or perhaps hundreds of different dogs, or some combination. They never learned the truth; the Hobo, incredibly, destroyed the video tapes they had been collecting that documented his heroic exploits (again, displaying an intelligence and awareness that simply should not have been possible given what we currently understand about dog behaviour and biology), and probably forever relegating any further study of the amazing creature to some obscure X-Files division of CSIS.
While the show may never have provided any concrete answers, the lyrics to “Maybe Tomorrow” may be able to provide us with clues as to just who-or what-Canada’s favourite homeless dog superhero really was.
[quote]There’s a voice that keeps on calling me
Down the road, that’s where I’ll always be[/quote]
All we really know about The Hobo was that he traveled from town to town, using some kind of innate uber empathy radar to seek out those in need of his myriad skills, from parachuting to gun delivery.
However, the theme points out that he is being controlled by a voice. Whose? It’s unclear. Also, the notion that down the road is where he’ll-not sometimes, but always-be, conjures images of a tuxedoed Jack Torrance in the photograph from 1921 hanging in the Overlook Hotel. Was Hobo some kind of supernatural being? It’s possible. Let’s investigate further.
[quote]Every stop I make, I make a new friend,
Can’t stay for long, just turn around and I’m gone again[/quote]
In addition to Hobo’s friend-making ability that led to a neverending parade of character actors, Canadian and otherwise, appearing in guest spots on the show, this couplet also describes his Batman-like ability to disappear mysteriously once his task was finished. In the very first episode, Park Ranger Ray Caldwell describes the Hobo as having vanished “the same way he came – in a cloud of smoke.”
In ancient Egypt, Anubis was the dog-headed God of mummification and the dead, whom he guided on their way to the afterlife. Admit to yourself that it is possible that the Hobo was a modern Canadian animal-deity that was sent to our realm to aid the desperate in their time of need.
[quote]Down this road that never seems to end
Where new adventure lies just around the bend[/quote]
Again, the song doesn’t describe a long road, but a road that never seems to end. There is no sense here that the Littlest Hobo’s journey is finite. He’s not making his way to a finish line. He doesn’t even have a starting point. He’s just destined to walk this mythical neverending road from crisis to crisis, setting right to that which is wrong, for all eternity. A sad, lonely life for most regular people. But regular people Hobo was not (for many reasons, primarily because he was a dog). He embraced his nomadic lifestyle and turned what could have been a Sisyphean curse into a blessing for each and every one of us.
[quote]Maybe tomorrow, I’ll want to settle down,
Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep moving on[/quote]
The chorus might as well have been scribbled somewhere in the pages of Rust Cohle’s giant ledger. After all, how would 4th dimensional beings viewing the Hobo’s activities from the comfort of their vantage point in nonlinear timespace perceive what was happening? A dog (or something more) on a ceaseless march towards an ambiguous possible ending, chasing a tomorrow that never comes, reborn time and time again to repeat the cycle of discovery, aid, and departure. Why, it would almost look like a circle. A flat circle. We’re through the looking glass here, people.
[quote]So if you want to join me for a while,
Just grab your hat, we’ll travel light, that’s hobo style[/quote]
As far as we’re able to suss out, this lyric has no deeper meaning and is simply meant to keep those more intrepid Hobo researchers from discovering his true identity. It’s also incredibly confusing. It really seems like embarking on a “hobo style” life would need more than just a hat. What about a rucksack? An old can of beans? A hobo knife? This section of the song truly asks more questions than it answers.
So, while there’s never been an official confirmation as to where the Littlest Hobo came from or what his purpose or motivations were, the ultimate question remains: is there enough evidence in the theme song to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that this “dog” was actual a 4th dimensional spirit manifestation destined to walk the Earth forever in order to save humanity? Absolutely, unequivocally, yes.