Tom Hanks makes a compelling case to use typewriters again.
Have you ever seen someone love something so much that you can’t help but love it too? If you’ve ever seen Tom Hanks talk about his typewriter collection, you’ll know exactly what we mean.
Here on Celebrity Inventory, we’re used to doing a bit of digging to learn about what celebrities collect. In the case of Tom Hanks, this digging was not necessary. He loves type writers so much and has done everything in his power to let you know about it. If you don’t believe us, he wrote an entire New York Times article about it. Or if that’s not enough, consider that he actually produced an app that simulates the experience of using a typewriter on your mobile device.
Now, normally you might think that someone as vocal as this could get annoying after a while. Yet only a casual glance over internet message boards will tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. Hanks has gained a reputation online for his personally typed responses to fan mail, ranging from inquiries about Toy Story 4 to requests to appear on podcasts.
“He is basically just a family man with a professional career whose profession just happens to be being Tom Hanks” writes one Reddit user.
“I would totally watch a tv show consisting solely of Tom Hanks narrating over himself responding to fanmail on a typewriter” writes Redditor Omnipotent Goose.
Though Tom Hanks’ typewriter obsession has long been considered common knowledge, his love reentered the limelight with the release of the documentary California Typewriter. Detailing the history of typewriters and the community of collectors surrounding them, California Typewriter features extensive interviews with musician John Mayer, author David McCullough, and, you guessed it, Tom Hanks. It’s in this movie that we really get into the scope of Hanks’ collection, and we even get to see some of his favorite typewriters in the process!
“I probably have 250 plus typewriters in my collection,” Tom Hanks shares. “I would say 90 percent of them are in perfect, working order.”
This all, of course, begs the question: what is it about typewriters, specifically, that so entrances Tom Hanks? For him, it’s not just a novelty. Rather, he finds the experience of using a typewriter to be more meditative and reflective than using a regular computer keyboard.
“There is a wonderful way to spend time typing,” Hanks explains. “You get to think about it. You get to romantically sit back and ponder what your next words are going to be, and that is a pleasant, tactile action.”
The truth of the matter is, Tom Hanks isn’t the only one who has become enamored with typewriters. Technology has progressed so rapidly over the past two decades alone. Communication has become predominately digital, and the act of writing is boiled down to its most utilitarian function in most circumstances. Typewriters offer an alternative experience for typing. They give writers the ability to choose whether they wish to sit in front of an electronic screen or not. The typewritten, finished document is a tangible, finished product that can be saved or used however the writer wants.
Sure, it’s not the fastest or most efficient method of writing, but where else can you get this experience? It’s sentiments such as these that have brought the community of typewriter collectors together, whether they actually use their machines or just try to preserve them.
For Tom Hanks, his typewriter collection has become part of his persona. But really, isn’t that true of anyone who is passionate about what they collect? Even if you haven’t even thought about a typewriter in the last three, five, or maybe ten years, it’s collectors like Tom Hanks that remind you of the value of these often forgotten items. All I know is, if I ever get a typed letter from Tom Hanks, I’m going to save it for the rest of my life. I’m not sure if that’s what he’d want, but I’m sure he’d love that I’d be able to.
California Typewriter debuted at select venues on August 18th. It will be available for digital purchase on iTunes by the end of 2017.