Today was a sad day those who consider themselves fans of the automobile and/or public radio as word came that Tom Magliozzi, one of the co-hosts NPR’s Car Talk passed away at age 77 due to complications from Alzheimer's disease. When I first saw the news, I began to feel very sad and sat in my chair for a few moments reflecting on some of my favorite moments of Car Talk. One of the key thoughts that hit me as I was sitting down was feeling bad for this person I had never even met. But the fact I was feeling this way made me realize a key aspect of what made Car Talk so special.
Whenever you tuned in to Car Talk and listened to Ray and Tom banter on about someone's car problem, the week's puzzler, or some digression, you felt like that you were part of this conversation. Even if you didn't know or even like cars, you could find something that could elicit a laugh or smile.
For me, a favorite moment of Car Talk was during the announcement of the new puzzler. Tom began to lose it when Ray mentioned 'a dimly-lit quonset hut'. This line would become a running joke in the show.
"I think it has very little to do with cars. It's the guys' personalities. And Tom especially — really a genius. With a great, facile mind. And he's mischievous. He likes to prod people into honesty," said Doug Berman, the longtime producer of Car Talk in a remembrance piece for NPR.
A lot of this comes from the close relationship Tom and Ray had. Again, Doug Berman.
"For Ray, he idolized Tom. This is the guy who introduced him to everything in life, and Tom liked having his little brother around. He liked the guy. So when they grew up they were really, really great friends."
This was a key part to the success of Car Talk. You could hear the love the brothers share in the way they would jab at each other on the show, or doing something out of the blue. An example of this is when a caller asked if there was a way she could pay $2.00 for missing a toll on a bridge. Tom got the idea to call to the person in charge of the bridge and the rest is history.
Despite the two stepping away from the mic in October 2012, Car Talk still provided laughs and grins for many as the day they were first aired.
Rest in peace, Tom. And remember, even in the afterlife, don't drive like your brother.
Picture Source: Car Talk