Tom Hanks, star of Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Bridge of Spies (and about a thousand others), is best known for his stellar Hollywood career. He is the only actor since Spencer Tracey to have won two Academy Awards in two consecutive years, he has picked up four Golden Globes and seven Emmys, and even been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Yes, Tom Hanks is one of Tinseltown's greatest acting talents... but more recently it is his unusual hobby which has been making the headlines.
Tom Hanks is a collector. Nothing out of the ordinary in that, you might think. Plenty of stars collect stuff: art, cars, jewellery... what's the big deal? Well, it's that Tom Hank's collection is really rather original. The man collects typewriters. Lots and lots of typewriters.
Starting his collection in the Seventies, he reportedly now owns over 100. That's a lot of love for typewriters. In fact, he loves them so much he has not only developed an app for them – the Hanx Writer app imitates the facsimile typescript and sound of an actual typewriter – but he has recently written a fictitious book about them too.
Published next week, Uncommon Type: Some Stories is a collection of 17 short stories all revolving around a simple theme: that of the typewriter. Including such tales as an affair between friends, a journey to the moon and a secret life, Tom is said to have written parts of the book actually on one his collectables – although most was written by the more modern laptop (sigh!).
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Interestingly, this is not the first time Tom's love for typing has made the news. Some might know of the letter he once wrote to a fan who sent him a typewriter. No? It went viral... Still no? Ok, here's what happened...
In an attempt to lure Tom to appear on his podcast, 'Nerdist Podcast', in 2012, Chris Hardwick sent Tom a 1934 Smith Corona.
Tom's response – as printed by Letters of Note – was as follows:
13 July 2012
Dear Chris, Ashley, and all the diabolical genuies at Nerdist Industries.
Just who do you think you are to try to briibe me into an apperance on your 'thing' with this gift of the most fantastic Cornona Silent typewriter made in 1934?
You are out of your minds if you think... that I... wow, this thing has great action... and this deep crimson color... Wait! I'm not so shallow as to... and it types nearly silently...
I will have my people contact yours and work out some kind of interview process...
Damn you all to hell,
(Signed, 'Tom Hanks')
We've always loved Tom Hanks the actor. But right now, we're loving Tom Hanks the typewriter collector/writer of amazing letters even more.