Last week, public radio lost one its most distinctive voices as Tom Magliozzi passed away due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease at age 77. Along with his brother Ray, Tom served as host of NPR’s long-running program Car Talk. Produced from 1977-2012, Car Talk was a show ostensibly focused on automobiles and automotive repair, although the Magliozzi’s (known on-air as “Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers”) frequently peppered their advice with humor and the conversation often segued into tangents that sometimes had little to do with cars. A quote from Tom serves to illustrate this dynamic:
“Some guy I met said it’s amazing how we use cars on our show as an excuse to discuss everything in the world—energy, psychology, behavior, love, money, economics and finance. The cars themselves are boring as hell.”
Jokes, puns, and wisecracks were a big part of the Peabody award-winning show. From their self-deprecating humor (exemplified by their traditional closing statement at the end of the program: “Well, it’s happened again — you’ve wasted another perfectly good hour listening to Car Talk.”) to the punny fictional staff members referenced during the show’s ending credits, the brothers never wasted an opportunity to laugh. And their laughter was contagious; you couldn’t help but laugh along with them. Speaking of Tom, Doug Berman, longtime producer of Car Talk, remarked that “his laugh is the working definition of infectious laughter.”
Although the production of new episodes ended in 2012, Car Talk has continued to air on NPR affiliates nationwide and remains a top-rated program even in syndication. If you’re interested in listening to the program you can find stations and showtimes here or browse and download from the complete list of shows.
You can also get Car Talk related material from DCPL. Car Talk: Maternal Combustion – Calls about Moms and Cars is a collection of the brothers’ favorite clips about moms, while in Car of the Future: Engineering for the Environment, the brother’s turn an expert, comic eye on the promise and pitfalls of tomorrow’s auto tech.
Tom will be fondly remembered by his brother Ray and the staff of the show, who have written a touching obituary as well as compiled clips of some favorite “Tom moments.”If you have your own favorite memories of the show to share, you can do so via their Guest Book or leave a comment on this post.