NJ shop that provided 'Hidden Figures' props applauds film's Oscar nods

rick3
Rick Dutczak, who owns Karl's Business Machines in Hamilton Township, NJ, with one of the IBM machines he rented to the makers of 'Hidden Figures,' which is nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Photo provided.

Rick Dutczak is an action movie fan.

But the Trenton-area businessman loves 'Hidden Figures'  — because 13 of his vintage typewriters play a supporting role in the film, which is set in the early 1960s and on Tuesday was nominated for Best Picture.

"Five minutes in and there's a scene with our machines. It was pretty exciting to see that in the theater," says Dutczak, 56, who's owned Karl Business Machines in Hamilton Township, Mercer County for 30 years.

"They showed a lot of our equipment," he adds. "Toward the end of the movie there's a crucial scene where [the actress] Taraji P. Henson uses one of our IBM Selectrics."

Dutczak has acquired about 1,000 vintage typewriters made between 1910 throught the 1990s, and in 2011 a friend put him in touch with filmmakers looking for retro office equipment.

The movie was Men in Black III; since then Dutczak and his company administrator  Roberta Winder,  of Newtown, Pa., have supplied mint-condition machines for use in films,  TV shows, commercials, and websites. 

"We don't just hand them machines," Winder says. "We make sure they're clean and working. We go over and above and out of our way to make it right."

Dutczak says he enjoyed 'Hidden Figures' even when his typewriters weren't visible on screen.

"I definitely thought it would get nominated," he says.

Adds Winder: "We're surprised it didn't get more."