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'Car Talk' Executive Producer Remembers Tom Magliozzi


Now let's remember a member of the NPR family, someone who's advice and laughter over the years reached millions of listeners. Tom Magliozzi died yesterday at the age of 77 from complications from Alzheimer's disease. He and his brother Ray made up the Car Talk duo known as the Tappet Brother. Starting in 1977, they began counseling devoted call-in guests on everything from carburetors to relationships - sometimes both.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Guys, I have a 1968 Rambler American.

RAY MAGLIOZZI: Man alive. Yeah, you looking for a husband?


R. MAGLIOZZI: Because my brother is available

TOM MAGLIOZZI: And I am short a couple of wives.


GREENE: Joining me now from WBUR in Boston to remember Tom Magliozzi is the longtime executive producer of Car Talk, Doug Berman. Doug, good morning.

DOUG BERMAN, BYLINE: Morning, nice to be here.

GREENE: You know, I'm like so many people who would listen to that show. Tom just seemed to find joy and laughter in so many places and just pass that joy right through to us on the radio. What was it about him?

BERMAN: He was a guy who, you know, with that laugh, with that great laugh, he just was able to make everyone around him feel better about everything, you know? And Car Talk was a way to sort of mass-produce that feeling. You know, you put him and his brother in front of a microphone and suddenly 4 million people a week feel better about everything. And, you know, so I think what he did was not trivial, you know, we talk about laughter as if it's, you know, it's sort of this passing thing, but, you know, life's not always easy. And to have someone, you know, there every week who just with his presence can make you smile and make everything seem better no matter what's going on is a powerful thing, and he did that for millions and millions of us.

GREENE: And he was often really self-deprecating. I mean, he liked to poke fun at his own intelligence in this very sincere and humble way, but he was a really bright person, right?

BERMAN: Yes, and a really original thinker. He really didn't let convention get in the way of his thinking at all. He tells a story about - he was in his 20s and he had a conventional job of some kind after graduating from MIT and he was driving a little MGA, which is a tiny, tiny car, you know, on this major highway around Boston heading to work. And he had a near miss with a semi-tractor trailer.

GREENE: Oh, yeah.

BERMAN: And he went right in and he quit his job and became a bum because he basically reevaluate his life and said this is not, you know, if I had died now, this is not - I would not be happy with the life I live. And his brother chimed in at that point, and said, yeah, most people would've run right out and bought a bigger car.


BERMAN: That's true, you know, he just went a different way. You know, another example is he, you know, for years he advocated the 35-mile-an-hour national speed limit, you know, at a time when we were all talking about whether it should be 65 or 75. Yeah, and that's crazy of course, but, you know, his point was we're all going too fast, you know, we're all doing too much. We need to slow down and enjoy the ride. And he did, he enjoyed the ride.

GREENE: Such a special voice. Doug Berman, the executive producer of Car Talk, remembering the late Car Talk host, Tom Magliozzi, who died yesterday. Doug, thanks very much.

BERMAN: My pleasure.

GREENE: You're listening to MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.


And I'm Renee Montagne. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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