Catch 22

This weekend, having got my hands on an Olivetti Lettera 22, I was able to cross a typewriter off my ‘wanted’ list.


Nice catch, you say, but what’s the link (apart from the number “22”) between my typewriter and the  novel written by Joseph Heller?


Well there isn’t one –  at least not a direct  link, but you can always find an indirect one, if you try hard enough.


First thing to do was to look for a photograph of  Joseph Heller sat in front of a Lettera 22. Sadly, he was captured instead in the company of a Smith Corona Classic.

Okay, forget the novel, what about the 1970 movie adaptation? Screenwriter Buck Henry, fresh from his success with The Graduate, was the writer assigned to write the screenplay – and yes, you’ve  guessed it, here he is pictured alongside a…


… oh B.H.! Something tells me that is not a Lettera 22, not unless it’s on steroids (in which case it would be a Studio 44).

But let’s not give up just yet – a year later, 1971, Buck is seen with French actress Catherine Rouvel and Milos Forman during a story conference for the Yugoslav film I Miss Sonja Henie  – and yes,  if I’m not very much mistaken, that’s a …


… German typewriter!

Closer but no cigar (cigarettes yes, cigars no).

Wait a minute though, what about Mike Nichols, the director of Catch 22 – more recently also the director of Charlie Wilson’s War, a movie starring Tom Hanks. Everyone knows Tom Hanks owns a Lettera 22, right?

Cigar time!


More pictures of my prize catch! Thanks for reading.








11 thoughts on “Catch 22

  1. Don’t you just love tenuous connections? It is always worth persevering. I have just sold a couple of machines and guess what I have in my Auction Sniper’s sights. fingers xxxed.


  2. I believe you’re right, Scott, it is Wide Elite Victoria. I didn’t think so at first, because some characters such as the s look different, but that is probably due to accidents of the typing on this particular machine.


  3. Hmmm that typeface looks quite different to the one on mine. I think I’ll have to have a closer look.
    I have slowly come to love my L22, but I did just give one away. Hope you love it!


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