Commemorative Plaque Dedication
June 28th at 5:30 p.m.
Tom Magliozzi, the legendary MIT-educated auto mechanic turned comedian and radio show host, will be memorialized with a plaque in Harvard Square on June 28, 2019. The plaque was conceived by Newton artist, Amy Nichols and fabricated by Awards Unlimited in Somerville.
Tom, along with his younger brother, Ray (also known as Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers), hosted the wildly popular Car Talk on NPR, which became the network’s biggest entertainment hit ever, and still airs on WBUR 90.9 Saturday mornings, and on NPR stations across the country.
The brothers made “Hahvahd Squayah” famous as the location of their weekly show, mentioning it multiple times on each broadcast. On June 28, Harvard Square will return the favor by honoring Tom.
“Tom and his brother are among the greatest humorists of their era,” says long time Producer Doug Berman. “They’re up there with Mark Twain and Groucho Marx.” They’re going to be remembered for generations, and they’re completely inexorably associated with Harvard Square.
The production staff was based at 5 JFK Street, in the Abbot Building, where Tom and Ray painted the name of their production company, Dewey, Cheetham & Howe” on a window facing the center of the square. “All day long, tourists would barge into our office, wake up the staff, and marvel that a show so stupid came from such a smart place,” says Ray Magliozzi.
As part of the unveiling, the redevelopers of the Abbot Building will also announce their plans to preserve Tom and Ray’s “Dewey, Cheetham & Howe” window in perpetuity. This move was applauded by long time Executive Director of the Cambridge Historical Commission, Charles M. Sullivan. Charlie said, “Some folks worried that the Abbot Building might be demolished or covered with vinyl siding. Not while the window is there! You could say that Dewey, Cheetham and Howe is still holding up the Square!”
Sam Stiebel, Vice President, Investments for Regency Centers said, “We are pleased to honor the contribution of ‘Click and Clack’ by preserving the iconic window. Tom’s legacy in Harvard Square and the community is not only assured by the commemorative plaque, but also by retaining this revered and hilarious landmark.”
Tom and Ray made thousands of references to Harvard Square during the 25 years they recorded Car Talk. And it wasn’t just talk. They could often be found “holding court,” drinking coffee, Tom with an occasional cigar, joking, telling stories, and welcoming anyone who wanted to sit and laugh for a while.
One of their favorite spots in recent years was the outside patio at the now-closed Crema Café where a commemorative plaque will be installed.
The public is invited to the unveiling, taking place on DeGuglielmo Plaza (located at 27 Brattle Street) at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, June 28th, 2019.
Following the unveiling of the plaque, Ray Magliozzi will be on hand to say a few words, along with Car Talk producer Doug Berman, and other Cambridge dignitaries.
Denise Jillson, executive director for the Harvard Square Business Association said, “We invite folks to come for the commemoration and stay for dinner and an after-party. A complimentary Italian supper of pasta and meatballs will be served family-style on red and white checkered table cloths for as long as it lasts.
In true Magliozzi fashion, dancing is encouraged and hip-swinging, toe-tapping, hand-clapping music will be provided by the Blue Suede Boppers! A festive beer garden sponsored by the Beat Brew Hall will add to the celebration. Brattle Street, between Eliot and Church will be closed for the event. A vintage ’56 Chevy (Tom’s favorite vehicle) will be on hand for viewing and photo-ops and for those who dare, an open mic will be available for sharing favorite Car Talk stories!”
Car Talk fans will be thrilled to know that it is still broadcast on many NPR stations, and is available as a free subscription podcast at iTunes. For more information, visit www.cartalk.com.