This film is about hobos riding the rails of Depression-era America. It was made and originally released as Emperor of the North Pole. After initial screenings, Twentieth Century Fox executives feared that audiences might think the title indicated a Christmas movie (!) or an Arctic exploration story and so shortened the title to Emperor of the North, a change that made little sense in terms of audience expectations and none at all in light of the fact that “Emperor of the North Pole” is a hobo term used extensively throughout the film. To be emperor of the North Pole, in hobo jargon, is to be king of the road. To be emperor of the north means some idiot is in charge of the title.
Beaver’s Lodge: ‘Emperor of the North Pole’ (1973)
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