CES: Tom Hanks brings Hollywood glitter to tech show

January 9, 2009

Tom Hanks and Sony CEO Howard Stringer might just have gained a little street cred with the tech crowd this week.

Onstage at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the pair of old buddies bantered, aimed gentle jibes at each other and got an appreciative audience rolling in their seats.

Hanks — displaying the same comedic flair he showed in “Big” — insisted he was here because it was written into his contract for starring in the upcoming, Sony-distributed “Angels and Demons”.

The two-time best actor Oscar winner marched in exaggerated fashion around the stage in clear response to a teleprompter, pretended he wished he were anywhere else but in Sin City, then made a raucous exit pleading with Stringer to rescue him from the Samsung and Casio “hellholes”.

“Everywhere in this world I turn, I see the name Sony Sony Sony Sony,” Hanks read off a teleprompter, grimacing as though the obvious corporate plug galled him inwardly. “I show up on the set and there it is on the camera: Sony.” He paused. “Really? I have yet to see that,” he deadpanned.

For his part, Stringer — a former documentary film maker — took Hanks’ antics in stride, accompanied by a stream of near-ceaseless laughter from the crowd. “I took a risk. It failed,” the more somber Stringer told the audience. “But we’ll still be friends.”

Despite the fun and games, CES felt a little forlorn this week. Following Hanks in rapid succession at Stringer’s keynote event was R&B star Usher and baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, but that nearly rounded up celebrity sightings at the once-extravagant, glitzy show. Motown icon Stevie Wonder showed up to promote technology development for the blind, while recording star Akon was on hand to promote his newly released album — on a memory card.

Perhaps unintentionally referencing his inner thoughts, Hanks said at the end of his struggle with the teleprompter: “I should have read this before I came out.”

Video courtesy of YouTube:

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