Image Credit: Car Talk
- The co-host of Car Talk, Tom Magliozzi, passed away at 77 years of age.
Car Talk co-host died of Alzheimer’s disease and he was 77 years old. Tom Magliozzi was a highly acclaimed radio show host. He and his brother, Ray, became notorious in a good way as “Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers” on Car Talk.
They engaged in badinage, cracked jokes, tittered with joy and lent some solid tips to callers regarding their vehicular problems. Tom’s laughter was boisterous and rambunctious. It was the sort of guffaw that could get anyone else laughing too. It was contagious laughter and it was a loud phenomenon.
The man was a happiness magnet. He attracted optimism by the sheer will of his spirit. The two Magliozzi brothers lived their childhood and teenage years in a rough Italian neighborhood. While both of them grew up to be excellent mechanics, they also had individual degrees from MIT.
After graduation Tom worked as an engineer for awhile. After facing a deadly encounter with a tractor-trailer, he decided to do something else. He left his job and lounged around. That was where his mechanic skills came in handy and he also met his wife.
“He’d always ask guys who were in a dispute with their wives or girlfriends one question: ‘Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?’” said Ray Magliozzi. “In his own personal life, Tom always chose ‘right,’ hence he leaves behind two wives, and a passel of children and grandchildren.”
The two Magliozzi brothers later on opened their mechanic shop on a joint basis. They labelled it Hacker’s Heaven. They had gotten into radio by sheer chance. It was more of a fluke that had landed them the job. But soon their popularity rose to such heights that they were quite famous among the common people.
The two brothers knew what they were talking about and they lent some gems of advice but that was not the actual reason behind their popularity. Rather the actual reason was that they had tons of personality and made the audience laugh their heads off.
It was not the car talk, it was the craftiness of the two hombres. They were pure genius. And the dude named Tom was a prankster and mischief maker par excellence. As for Ray, he simply adored Tom. Everything he had learnt had been thanks to Tom.
The two brothers were also best friends. And now that Tom has died, Ray is left bereft. The show which had been showing reruns since two years or so is something Ray would like to do again although obviously this time around his brother won’t be around.
“He and his brother changed public broadcasting forever,” said Doug Berman, the brothers’ longtime producer. “Before Car Talk, NPR was formal, polite, cautious….even stiff. By being entirely themselves, without pretense, Tom and Ray single-handedly changed that, and showed that real people are far more interesting than canned radio announcers. And every interesting show that has come after them owes them a debt of gratitude.”
“I think the body of work he leaves will definitely be held up with great American humorists like the Marx Brothers and Mark Twain,” said Berman. “He was a genius. And he happened touse that genius to make other people feel good and laugh. I suspect, generations from now, people will be listening to Car Talk and feeling good and laughing.”
Tom Magliozzi’s survivors include his two wives Julia Magliozzi (first wife), Joanne Magliozzi (second wife); his three kids Lydia Icke, Alex, and Anna Magliozzi; his brother Ray Magliozzi; his sister Lucille Magliozzi and his five grandchildren.