An Edinburgh bookshop owner was hailed as a hero by Hollywood actor Tom Hanks for “keeping typewriters alive”.
Tom Hodges wrote a letter to the movie star this summer and received a response from the actor praising his work.
The 35-year-old invited Hanks to visit his shop, Typewronger Books, while the National Museum of Scotland’s typing exhibit is on display.
Mr Hodges, the only typewriter mechanic in Scotland, said he was “delighted” to receive the letter.
He told BBC Scotland: “The reason why this is good for me is not the same as everyone else.
“He might be a great Hollywood actor, but for me it’s all about the love of typewriters.
“There are some typewriter fanatics, like Ben Aleshire in New Orleans and Luke Winter who owns the Glasgow Story Wagon, but Tom Hanks gets the crown.”
Mr. Hodges typed the letter to Hanks about two months ago from his grandfather’s old Remington Noiseless typewriter, explaining all about his life and how he became a typewriter mechanic and geek. He also inserted an origami dragon he had made.
Mr. Hodges said: “I told him I had escaped from Edinburgh to live a bohemian life in Paris and lived like a tumbleweed at the Shakespeare and Company bookstore.
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“It’s a bookshop in Paris where you can sleep and live there. You show up and if they have a space you can stay.
“The tradition is to be nice to strangers for fear they are angels in disguise. I arrived dressed like a crazy parrot in all my colors and a floor length coat.
“I think it was a great disguise as they let me stay. It has many nooks and crannies for you to sleep in.
“They had old decrepit typewriters and that’s where I learned how to fix them so I could encourage other Tumbleweeds to write on them.”
On the letterhead from the set of Baz Luhrman’s Elvis biopic, Hanks celebrated Mr. Hodges for “fighting the giants to sell the best of books – and keep typewriters alive” while hinting that he might do a visit to the capital in the near future.
Mr. Hodges said he was very curious when the letter arrived at his shop.
“I had no idea it was from him,” she said. “I get letters from all over the world and then I saw the letterhead and thought ‘interesting’.
“Then in it it said Tom Hodges you are my hero and I went all the way and there was the name of Tom Hanks.
“It was a real typewritten letter with its errors eliminated.
“Typewriter mechanics hate Tipp-ex for getting into mechanics, so it was nice to see that he had written off his mistakes instead.”
Hanks’ letter had the insignia of The King’s infamous manager Colonel Tom Parker – who would be played by the actor in the upcoming film next year – as he wrote the letter from that set.
In a 2019 interview with the New York Times, Hanks claimed to have collected typewriters since he was a teenager.
At one point he had hundreds of machines, which he described as “brilliant combinations of art and engineering”. Now he has 120.
Mr. Hodges said: “I hope you can see the [typewriter] it shows at some point.
“It would be nice to meet him. He seems like a really wonderful man.
“I would very much like to talk to him about typewriters.
“I am delighted with your letter, it is a wonderful thing.”
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