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'You've got mail' | Tom Hanks responds to typewritten fan letters from Heights High School

The students and their teacher recently sent the star typewritten fan letters and were pretty surprised when he replied -- on a typewriter, of course.
Credit: Heights High School
Students and staff at Heights High School in Houston got quite a thrill recently thanks to actor Tom Hanks. They sent him fan letters and he wrote back.

HOUSTON — Students and staff at Heights High School in Houston got quite a thrill recently thanks to actor Tom Hanks.

The students and their teacher recently sent the star typewritten fan letters and were pretty surprised when he replied -- on a typewriter, of course.

"Keep those kids writing letters!" Hanks told teacher Donna Kay Mergese. "There is nothing better than getting/sending a missive."

"This is simply the sweetest and we are so grateful to hear back from you!" Mergese tweeted in response.

Hanks also suggested she scrub her old typewriter's keys with a toothbrush and "a bit of alcohol." And he would know.

The Oscar-winning actor is obsessed with typewriters. His collection includes more than 100 models, he told CBS Sunday Morning back in 2017.

Hanks got hooked back in college and says he's had a "bizarre, strange need for typewriters" ever since.

"My first typewriter was given to me by a friend. It was a 1970's piece of junk, modern typewriter," Hanks said.

He took it to a repair shop where the owner refused to fix it. Instead, he sold Hanks an old Hermes 2000 made in Switzerland for $20 and it's still one of his favorites.

"This is the Mercedes Benz of typewriters. You could drop this machine from an airplane and still be able to type on it," Hanks told CBS.

Hanks won hearts all over the world when he sent one of his typewriters to an 8-year-old boy in Australia. The little boy wrote a letter to Hanks in 2020 and said he was being bullied because his name is Corona. They became pen pals with typewriters instead of pens.

Last November, Hanks made headlines in Tennessee when he made a surprise visit to a typewriter store near Nashville. The owner and fellow typewriter enthusiast once sent him a fan letter and Hanks promised to visit someday, according to the Tennessean.

They were shocked when he showed up.

"He hung out at the house, met the family, pet the doggos, and chatted for a bit before we headed up to the shop to dig into the mountain of machines that lurk up there," the owner posted on Instagram.

Hanks even features the typewriter in a collection of short stories called "Uncommon Type."

He can't get enough of the familiar clackety, clack, clack.

"If drums are the backbone of any rock and roll bands, and the sound of the  typewriter is the sound of productivity," he said.