The Hobo
Series: N/A Distribution: King Bee  Director: Arvid E. Gillstrom  Cinematography: ?
Production: N/A Type: Silent short Producer: Louis Berstein  Editor: ?
Released: 01 November 1917 Length: 2-reels


The film opens with Babe consuming large quantities of food (including a whole string of sausages) at a lunch counter next to the ticket office of a railway station, much to the humour of the onlookers. Meanwhile, a hungry hobo emerges from under a stationary train to go in search of some food. After scaling a small fence, the hobo is chased by a dog into the arms of a lovely young lady whom he bumps into on a street corner. He pursues her into the nearby waiting room of the station only to discover her father is working there. Upon seeing the unnatural level of flirting which follows, the jealous boyfriend (Hardy) intervenes with a large cake he was in the middle of consuming, but his wayward throw manages to hit the girl's father straight in the face instead.
A free-for-all takes place in the booking office when Hardy gets himself trapped in a clamp. Eager to impress, the hobo makes his move to try and win the girl, sneaking in some unsubtle kicks to the rear of his rival along the way. An alliance is formed between the station master and hobo when they shake hands. Freed from the clamp, Hardy is in the waiting area lying in wait for the hobo, who has walked out with the girl. A fight ensues and the hobo wins the upper hand by pulling his victim's head through a gap in the counter on the wall, and subsequently takes a paintbrush to his head.
The hobo swaps places with the chef next door, serving pancakes to passengers who have just alighted from a train at the station. One of the customers is Hardy who catches the flying food in his mouth as the hobo flips them through the air at him. However, when one is found to be sabotaged, causing Babe to burn his mouth, the irate customer hurls yet another pie - this time hitting a young lady sitting opposite, and so begins yet another silent-screen pie fight with of course, the wrong people being the recipients of them. Another train pulls in, the place clears, and the hobo returns to the office to find the chef asleep, before sending him on his way.
Back at police headquarters, a wanted sign is put out for a thief (Leo White with an outrageously silly and unbelievable glued-on beard and moustache), who later steals a car parked outside the building and drives to the train station, offering the automobile for two tickets (for him and his lady friend). At this point it gets hard to keep up with the pace of the film, as the car thief misses his train and the hobo takes ownership of the conveniency which is now parked outside the station, driving his new lady friend to a restaurant, as Babe complains to the police who are in hot pursuit. When the cops arrive the thief is arrested, the hobo is declared a hero and is given a cash reward on the spot. However it's not to be a happy ending for the poor hobo when he realises his new lady friend chooses Babe insetad. He hands over the reward money to her much to the new couple's delightment as he heads dejectedly back to his train.

Favourite bit
The funniest scene of the film then happens as a passenger strolls in asking for a train ticket to Springfield...

Billy West comedy with Babe Hardy.
No copyright registered.
Filming dates
Working title: The Station Master.
Filmed in Bayonne, New Jersey.
A pristine print of the film exists in private hands which is scheduled for release at some stage. It has been completely restored and looks incredible.

What the experts say
"comments here" ~ Source here.

Billy West
The hobo
Budd Ross
Station agent
Virginia Clark
Dolly, station agent's daughter
Oliver Hardy
Harold, Dolly's sweetheart
Leo White
Mr. Fox, society crook
Harry Naughton
Laurel Or Hardy by Rob Stone (book)

This page was last updated on: 01 November 2017