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Call-in procedure[ edit ] Throughout the program, listeners were encouraged to dial the toll-free telephone number , CAR-TALK , which connected to a hour answering service. Although the approximately 2, queries received each week were screened by the Car Talk staff, the questions were unknown to the Magliozzis in advance as "that would entail researching the right answer, which is what? Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. November Learn how and when to remove this template message The show originally consisted of two segments with a break in between but was changed to three segments. After the shift to the three-segment format, it became a running joke to refer to the last segment as "the third half" of the program. The show opened with a short comedy segment, typically jokes sent in by listeners, followed by eight call-in sessions. The hosts ran a contest called the "Puzzler", in which a riddle, sometimes car-related, was presented. The answer to the previous week's "Puzzler" was given at the beginning of the "second half" of the show, and a new "Puzzler" was given at the start of the "third half". A running gag concerned Tom's inability to remember the previous week's "Puzzler" without heavy prompting from Ray. Originally, the winner received a specific item from the store, but it soon changed to a gift certificate to allow the winner to choose the item they wanted though Tom often made an item suggestion. A recurring feature was "Stump the Chumps," in which the hosts revisited a caller from a previous show to determine the accuracy and the effect, if any, of their advice. Tom then announced who the previous caller was, followed by a short replay of the essence of the previous call, preceded and followed by harp music often used in other audiovisual media to indicate recalling and returning from a dream. The hosts then greeted the previous caller, confirmed that they had not spoken since their previous appearance and asked them if there had been any influences on the answer they were about to relate, such as arcane bribes by the NPR staff. The repair story was then discussed, followed by a fanfare and applause if the Tappet Brothers' diagnosis was correct, or a wah-wah-wah music piece mixed with a car starter operated by a weak battery an engine which wouldn't start if the diagnosis was wrong. The hosts then thanked the caller for their return appearance. Grunsfeld calling from the Space Shuttle. On one occasion, the show featured Martha Stewart as an in-studio guest, whom the Magliozzis twice during the segment referred to as "Margaret". In addition to at least one on-orbit call, the Brothers once received a call asking advice on winterizing an electric car. It was a joke call from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory concerning the preparation of the Mars rover for the oncoming Martian winter. August Learn how and when to remove this template message Humor and wisecracking pervaded the program. Tom and Ray are known for their self-deprecating humor , often joking about the supposedly poor quality of their advice and the show in general. They also commented at the end of each show: Preceding each break in the show, one of the hosts led up to the network identification with a humorous take on a disgusted reaction of some usually famous person to hearing that identification. The full line went along the pattern of, for example, "And even though Roger Clemens stabs his radio with a syringe whenever he hears us say it, this is NPR: National Public Radio" later just " At one point in the show, often after the break, Ray usually stated that: Following the real staff was a lengthy list of pun-filled fictional staffers and sponsors such as statistician Marge Innovera " margin of error " , customer care representative Haywood Jabuzoff "Hey, would ya buzz off" , meteorologist Claudio Vernight "cloudy overnight" , optometric firm C. Dragon "Her ass must be draggin'" , whose job title varied, but who was often said to be head of the show's working mothers' support group. Guest accommodations were provided by The Horseshoe Road Inn "the horse you rode in". At the end of the show, Ray warned the audience, "Don't drive like my brother!
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