After spotting a 1950s Hermes Ambassador in a WWII U.S. military typing pool set in June 1944, I re-watched “Saving Private Ryan” with my wife when she came home. (My wife doesn’t collect, but she knows my collection and immediately spotted the Ambassador when I replayed the footage in slow motion.)
I still don’t know whether the Ambassador was a prop goof or if someone was having a laugh (Typospherians suspect the latter), but there were a couple of deliberate typewriter gags involving Tom Hanks:
Gag 1: Landing on the Beach
The first gag takes place at 7:03 in the following YouTube clip (00:11:49 in the film). Tom Hanks’ character makes his way across the beach at Normandy, just to tell a fellow soldier carrying a cast-iron Royal
KMG KMM to “get rid of that crap” and move off to a safer position:
Why else would an officer leading his company on the beaches of Normandy take the time to tell a guy to leave his typewriter behind? And wouldn’t a cast-iron Royal KMG offer *some* protection from bullets? (Note: I have no idea whether a
KMG KMM would actually stop a bullet, nor do I suggest anyone try testing this at home.)
Did you hear the “DING!” of the bell?
Gag 2: Meeting Corporal Upham
Capt. Miller (Tom Hanks) recruits Corporal Timothy E. Upham (Jeremy Davies) to serve as translator on his mission to find Private Ryan. Upham is both awkward and inexperienced, and he asks Capt. Miller if he can bring his typewriter (a 1920s Underwood Standard Portable). Typewriter physical comedy and Tom Hanks humor ensue (the gag starts at 00:40:22 in the film):
Hope you enjoyed these as much as I did. The last time I watched this movie I had yet to get into typewriters. Watching it now brings a whole new appreciation for these scenes… and the time-traveling power of Hermes Ambassadors.