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Vernon Praiseworthy is a clumsy but lovable dope who stands to inherit his uncle's fortune. The condition is that he travel the rails as a penniless hobo just as his uncle did in the dark days of the depression. That seems simple enough until he gets involved in a dog-napping plot. Written by
The Billion Dollar Hobo is something that Will Geer was and Tim Conway could potentially be if he follows the instructions that Geer lays down for a trip on the open road, or open rail if you prefer.
Geer is a Howard Hughes like billionaire who started out back in the Thirties as one of the Depression's millions of jobless who became itinerant migrants. He worked his way from that and he wants to see if Tim Conway's got the right stuff in him.
But this is Tim Conway we're dealing with even if he is the last relative Geer has on the earth. As an aide Geer gives him his dog who is descended from the German Shepherd who accompanied him back in the Thirties.
Well after guile less Tim gets hoodwinked into a plot to kidnap a rare breed of Chinese dog that the People's Republic Of China has sent to the USA as a token of friendship, he needs the help of the Shepherd who proves to be the smarter of the pair. Not just the fact he's got Tim Conway as a human companion, but this dog is a regular Rin Tin Tin.
In fact back in the day the plot of The Billion Dollar Hobo could be a Rin Tin Tin picture. Maybe that was the mistake, the dog should have been the star, not Tim Conway.
Not taking anything away from Conway who is a very funny man, but in this film some of the comic bits fall flat and Conway just can't quite get his character off the ground.
Conway's done a lot better stuff, especially when he's teamed with Don Knotts. This one just doesn't quite make it.
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