Good Morning: A goodbye to 'Car Talk'

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Michael Hutchins

A mainstay of public radio will be be calling it quits this weekend after move than 40 years of bringing laughs and advice across the airwaves of America...for real this time

Earlier this summer, NPR announced that it would be cancelling "The Best of Car Talk," with the final episode scheduled to air this weekend. This will effectively bring an end to the show that started in 1977 and has outlived one of its two hosts.

While on paper the show is effectively a call-in advice show for car owners trying to find out exactly what is wrong with their vehicles, the show was ultimately more than a sum of its parts and found an appeal well beyond gear junkies.

The show was hosted by Tom and Ray Magliozzi, more commonly known as Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers. The duo got their start in Boston, but the show expanded to a national audience a decade later.

Over the years, the brothers helped thousands of people solved automobile issues.  Notable calls included one from a NASA astronaut aboard the space shuttle who was asking for advice on an old "government van" he had with more than 60 million miles on the odometer.

The brothers officially retired from the show in 2012, but reruns and additional unused content continued to run for years to come. Tom Magliozzi died in 2014 following complications from Alzheimer's Disease. At the time of the his death, Ray Magliozzi quipped that his brother "really couldn't remember last week's puzzler."

It was this sense of humor that pervaded the show.

The brothers took verbal snipes at each other and the callers, all in the name of fun and friendly ribbing. The brothers spent as much time helping people figure out what that knocking noise is as they did cracking jokes and laughing at each other.

I came to the show late in its run and stuck around for the finale not because I had any interest in cars but because the brothers were genuinely entertaining and their enjoyment was genuinely infectious.

I would often find myself listening to the show while sitting in my car, oddly enough, after completing a trip. I wanted to hear it until the end because they were just that funny and I think that is what has kept the motor of the show running smoothly all these years.