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The Amazing Unforgettable Voice of Experience

Updated on February 28, 2015
His radio audience loved him!
His radio audience loved him!

He is Gone - But Not Forgotten!

Lost in a veritable bookworm's dream, many years ago - in a cluttered, dusty bookstore in a place where I once loved to go, I stumbled upon an old out-of-print book, that has just become priceless to me.

From the very first words that greeted my gaze - I was galvanized. Two paragraphs later, I couldn't remove the book from my hand, and the rest of the world "went away. By the end of the first chapter - I was hopelessly in love with the author. Oh, my - what a book!

The intriguing title of that gripping book is Stranger than Fiction, and every one of the poignant true-life stories nestled within its pages, is EXACTLY that!

The author had a radio program, called - "The Voice of Experience". It was in such demand, that it often aired twice daily. In the late 1920s and into the 1930s, it was the most popular program on the radio. Although he attempted valiantly to remain anonymous during his lifetime, there were a few people who knew his true identity, but...very few. Despite occasional newspaper articles, most people never knew who he was. It took me a long time, to find out.

His huge, eager listening audience numbered over 7.000.000 people - who snuggled up against their radios, and waited with "bated breath", to hear what he had to say. Thousands of letters poured into radio stations, addressed merely to "The Voice of Experience". He got them. They were replete with seemingly insurmountable difficulties people were facing in their daily lives, and somehow, someway - he would have the solution.

His wisdom was nothing short of divine. He never shirked from children's letters, or discarded one because he thought it there was not a solution. If you will permit me, I'd like to share a very few of the problems that were presented to him - and - his ingenious solutions.

We need a "Voice of Experience" today! His problem-solving skills sounded like they came from the mouth of God, and perhaps...they did!

~ ATTENTION ~

Please do not confuse his book, Stranger Than Fiction with many, many others of the same name. The book is about the radio program, that featured an incredible man, "The Voice of Experience". As far as I'm concerned, none of the other books of the same title but, with completely different contents, can "hold a candle" to this one!

A Glimpse of the Voice of Experience

He is the one in the middle!
He is the one in the middle!

From An Old Magazine I Own

Here is his famous silhouette, with some of the photos from the “Voice of Experience” magazine. These were all taken from an original issue that I own, circa January of 1936. The paper is starting to crumble, so I don’t touch it much, but it is one of my few truly cherished possessions.

The titles of the stories presented in that old magazine of mine, are – from top left to right, and bottom left to right:

  • “Love is Never Blind”
  • “Office Widow”
  • “Office Widow” – again
  • “Love is Never Blind” – again
  • “A Million Private Lives”
  • “Deaf: I Wanted to Die”


Along with these articles, are also:

  • “Deep in My Heart”
  • “One Woman’s Greed”
  • “Now That I’m Thirty”
  • “Tragedy in a Woman’s College” - and last, but it shouldn’t have been…
  • “From One Bigamist to Another”…and more.

Each of the true-to-life stories, as varied as they are, contain major insights into human emotions. The dilemmas range from heartache to hidden horrible secrets. Without exception, the “Voice of Experience” delivers sound solutions that often are astounding – to each and every individual. I truly hope that you can find a copy of his Stranger Than Fiction” books, or one of the magazines by the same name.

He puts “Dear Abby” to shame – in my opinion – and just assimilating his advice, is like “Balm of Gilead”, to the soul!


Photo credits: Emily Tack: Columbia Broadcasting System: Engel-van Wiseman, Inc.

A Small Sample from The Voice of Experience

Oh, the shame...

Her Sister's Baby

Her honor was at stake...

From a broken heart, wrenched in pain, came a letter, to “The Voice of Experience” written by a desperate, distraught, driven young woman. When her parents were both killed, in an accident, she valiantly, single-handedly raised her only other sibling; her younger sister. They were both in their teens. Despite the young woman’s best efforts to steer her sister in the proper direction – she was found to be “in the family way”, when she was only sixteen. To avoid the shame of an illegitimate child, the two sisters went to another town, until the baby was born.

Her little sister died, in childbirth. The older sister, wishing to bring no shame to her baby sister, or her deceased parents – placed the child with a woman she felt she could trust with her own life. Periodically, she would send the woman money for the care of the baby, and kept up with the baby’s progress through letters. A while later, she met and married a fine young man, whom she not only adored, but almost worshiped. They were both very much in love with each other, but she neglected to tell him about the baby.

One day, a letter came, advising her that the little one was very ill. She called her husband at work, and told him that she needed to rush to her niece’s bedside. In her haste, she forgot the letter, which was out in plain view. Well, you can just imagine what happened next!

Her husband came home, read the open letter, and felt he was a man, betrayed. He left a letter for her, in turn – venting his feelings, took his belongings, and left. When the child was better, she returned home, and read his letter. Oh, the heartache! She never expected that homecoming. Desperately, she tried to call him at work for days – he refused to take her calls. She tried to see him – he refused to see her. She wrote him a letter – it was returned unopened. She sent him a registered letter – it came back, too.

The young lady did not know what to do, so she wrote to “The Voice of Experience“, telling him the agonizing tale, and begging for his help. He was the only one she thought might be able to help. She gave him her husband’s full name, and the address of the boarding house where she discovered he was staying.

The very day that “The Voice of Experience” received the letter, he sent a wire to her husband, urging him to listen to that night’s broadcast. Thankfully, her husband listened. I will not tell you what he said - you will have to read it yourself, in the book referred to below, but The Voice of Experience said the right things to get the husband's attention.

In true form, he was the instrument of bringing the two of them together again – with a bonus – they adopted the baby, as their own. Not only did "The Voice of Experience" save that marriage, with his sage advice – he was the instrument that brought that little baby into the home where she belonged.

Two Fast Friends

Dad and God Turned Me Down...

...or did they?

Oh, the agony of a heartsick child! Is there anything worse? In this heart-rending story, the “Voice of Experience” states that it was the first time he had ever “double-crossed” someone – but, he had a very good reason.

On one of his radio programs, “The Voice of Experience” read a letter that was sent to him, from a young boy who had all but given up hope. The letter was a last, desperate cry for help, from a lad whose dad had taken away his best friend – his dog. The dad had a reason – the dog bit him. The dog had a reason – he thought the dad was an intruder.

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The letter starts like this:

“Dear Man of Experience:
I guess I got a lot of nerve as I know what I want, but, ghee whizz, if you don’t ask you never get nothing nohow, and I’m in awful trouble. You see, it’s like this…”

His childlike letter continues on, in that vein. The rest of the young lad’s letter you’ll have to read for yourself, if you can find the book, but it closes as follows:

“I hear you lots on the radio and I heard you tell about finding a girl what her mother had lost seventeen years ago and I said to myself, if he can find a girl what was lost seventeen years, I bet he can find Spot. Gosh, mister, I’d be your friend for life if you’d do that. I asked Mummy if I could write to you and she said she’d mail it. I listen every day to you but don't answer at night. Mummy and Dad listen to you always at night, but I’m always in bed at that time. So, don’t forget. You see, Dad and God turned me down. Please, sir, won’t you find Spot for me? I know he wants me as bad as I want him and I’ll be your friend for life. Oh, please, don’t you turn me down, too. Joe.”

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Well, the “Voice of Experience” did not air this letter on his afternoon broadcast. He “double-crossed” Joe, and aired it at night, when little Joe’s dad was certain to be listening. More than 300 people wired, phoned, and wrote to the "Voice of Experience", offering to give Joe another dog, but Joe’s dad made those thoughtful offers, unnecessary.

Joe and Spot were reunited, and as far as Joe ever knew, it was his dad who was the instrument of Spot’s reappearance. Joe did write “The Voice of Experience” another letter, though. He said that he was sorry to have put him to any trouble, but he didn’t need to anything about his case, because God and his dad had answered his prayer…and, that’s exactly what The “Voice of Experience” wanted that little boy to believe.

Well…that’s the truth, isn’t it?

His Most Famous "Case"

The Most Famous Case - No. H5-230

Help arrived, and not a moment too soon!

Here is the last of my favorites. No, that is not exactly accurate. They are all my favorites. No, that’s not right, either – that’s an oxymoron. Well, here is ANOTHER one of my favorites – THAT’S CORRECT!

As of July of 1934, the “Voice of Experience” had received more than two and a half million letters, in eight years. More graphically stated, that is 2,500,000 letters, in a period of 8 years. He had over seven million listeners, by that time. Of all of the incredible stories, problems, and situations that came his way, Case Number H5-230, is the one that his listening audience will never forget.

In order to understand the extreme circumstances under which this case even received attention, you’ll need some background information. Allow me to explain:

Upon the arrival of the huge bags of mail that arrived for “The Voice of Experience every day, bonded men slit them open, briefly examined the contents of the letter, and cataloged them. Then, runners delivered them to various departments, for disposition. There was a Reading Department, an Investigation Department, and an Order Department.

One Friday evening, in March of 1933, a letter destined for the reading room slipped out of the runner’s basket. A bookkeeper happened to be passing; picked it up, and read the letter. Because it involved death, it was given immediately to one of “The Voice of Experience’s” private secretaries. From what transpired next, it was apparent that The Hand of God or one of his angels had “knocked” it out of the basket. Since the readers were a few days behind, the letter would not have received attention for several more days.

Due to the amazing circumstances surrounding this letter, and the events that followed, we are going to reproduce the letter, in its entirety. Here it is:

-------------------------------------------------------------------

“Dear Friend:
Please excuse my writing, as I have lost my right arm and have undergone forty-one major operations, so I am not in the best of health.

I lost my father in July, 1929, and then my husband in October, 1930, and now my mother is lying in Kings County Morgue with no prospect of burial because three of the ten days allotted to claim her body have gone by and I have been unable to raise any money.

I have two brothers, but one is in jail and the other is a heavy drinker. I stay away from him because he acts crazy toward me when he gets drunk. He still suffers from shell shock after the World War.

I have a sister in a mental institution, the same one where my father died.

Tomorrow my landlord is going to put me out, because I am behind with my rent. I have no friends and nowhere to go.

For God’s sake can you do something for me and please, if at all possible, take care of the burial of my mother. I don’t want her to have to go to Potter’s Field.”

The writer’s signature and address followed.

----------------------------------------------------------

Immediately, “The Voice of Experience” contacted the head of his Investigating Bureau, and asked him to get on the case first thing, the next morning. It was already after hours, and the offices were technically closed. As his investigator was leaving the office, “The Voice of Experience” called him back. He said later, that he didn’t know why. The investigator grabbed one of his men, to accompany him, and set off on their investigation.

As they neared the address, they heard a woman scream. They bounded up the steps, opened the hallway door, and heard yet another scream coming from the room to their left.

When they opened the door, they found a woman there almost completely naked, and a rookie cop that was pinned against the wall by a huge man, brandishing a dagger. One of men threw himself upon the officer’s attacker, and with the help of the others, relieved the assailant of his weapon.

The rookie police officer told the other two men, that he was patrolling his beat, when he heard a woman scream. When he entered the apartment, he found the attacker attempting to ravish the one-armed woman – and – he found himself pinned to the wall by the man before he knew what was happening. The fiend turned out to be the woman’s brother, who was arrested, and sent to an asylum.

The men sent, by “The Voice of Experience” had arrived just in the “nick of time”. Had they not gone immediately, it is extremely probable that at least the officer would have lost his life, if not the woman, too.

------------------------------------------------------------------

What “boggles the imagination” about this case, is that:

  1. The regular, long-standing routine of “The Voice of Experience” was deviated from, to say the least.
  2. The investigator always went alone. Taking the other man was a first, in their history.
  3. The investigation should have commenced the next morning, at which time I most likely would have been too late.
  4. Had they not gone straight to the address, they would have been too late.
  5. The letter should not have been read, for several days.
  6. The letter should not have been read, by “The Voice of Experience’s” personal secretaries.


The END of the story, is that – a proper burial was arranged for the woman’s deceased mother. The one-armed woman, who wrote the letter was taken to the hospital, to regain her health. After she was discharged from the hospital, the staff from “The Voice of Experience” helped her to be self-sustaining, and – everyone was satisfied that the letter in the hallway, had “accidentally” dropped out of the basket – “nudged” by a Providential Hand!

The Family Quarrel - based on the radio show

My Old Copy

Full front of the book
Full front of the book
Close-up of the insert
Close-up of the insert

Not to be confused with other books with the same title

Stranger Than Fiction
Stranger Than Fiction

Another priceless book, that is jammed with stories from The Voice of Experience radio show. After you read it, you will want to share the tales with everyone who loves hearing TRUE LIFE experiences of how the truth truly IS stranger than fiction!

This book contains "Dad and God Turned Me Down" and "Her Sister's Baby" - two of our favorite true stories that "The Voice of Experience" aired on his radio program. His radio listeners never knew the end of the dilemmas, until this book was published.

My family cherishes every one of the nineteen chapters that are between the covers of this incredible book, from a bygone era when radio was king!

 

Even though I have openly admitted I am in love with this man, who is long deceased, I did not know who he was for years! I always wondered - who WAS “The Voice of Experience“? After a lot of searching, I finally found out! The name behind the silhouette, is:

~ MARION SAYLE TAYLOR ~

From a vintage article I read in Time magazine, dated January 2, 1939, he was born the son of a Baptist preacher. In 1939, his radio salary was $2,000 a week. That was a lot of money, back then. That is a lot of money, NOW! Even in 1939, he received an average of 6,000 letters a day – can you imagine?

The Voice“, as even his friends called him, was 49 years old in 1939. He was born in Kentucky, and as a young boy, enjoyed music so much, that his talent eventually paid his way through medical school. He had trained in the field of surgery, but a traffic accident left his hands without the coordination he needed to be a surgeon. It also effectively ended his musical prowess, as his hands lacked the feeling he needed to play.

During his lifetime, he was decidedly one of America’s Favorites. There is a lot more to tell, about “The Voice of Experience“, such as the debates he had with such famous people as William Jennings Bryan and Judge Lindsay, but for now – we’ll just leave you with a “taste” of his books, and a “feeling” for the man.

Photo of my very old book

The photo that Amazon should have... We own several original copies, of both of his books The Voice of Experience and my favorite, Stranger Than Fiction. Sometimes one of them is for sale on Amazon. I so glad I bought mine when I did!
The photo that Amazon should have... We own several original copies, of both of his books The Voice of Experience and my favorite, Stranger Than Fiction. Sometimes one of them is for sale on Amazon. I so glad I bought mine when I did!

Please forgive the Photo >

The copy of his book that I own, is very, very old.

When I took this photo, the cover was still on the book.

Over time, because we read it a lot, the cover disintegrated.

The book is hard to find, but if you persist, you may be able to find a copy.

You will feel as though you were sitting at the feet of Solomon, as you read the wisdom that emanated from "The Voice of Experience".

Millions found themselves "glued" to the radio, when his programs aired.

God surely gave this man a gift!

Available Occasionally on Amazon

The Voice of Experience
The Voice of Experience

From time to time, there are a few copies available of The Voice of Experience, but rarely any good photos, and the one we have portrayed above isn't a great one, either. Our copy is very old, and shows its age, too.

What a shame, that so many "fluff" books are easily found, yet some of those with contents that will stir you to your depths, are few and far between!

 
Oh, and there WAS another side!
Oh, and there WAS another side!

The Dark Side of "The Voice"

As much as I admire Marion Sayle Taylor, he was just a man, after all. The profound wisdom that he imparted to others, he did not seem to be able to implement in his own life.

Despite the fact that he generously paid for many unwed mothers' confinements, and donated to many worthy causes, he did not seem to be able to follow his own advice which he thoughtfully gave on his many radio programs.

His three wives knew the other side, and he apparently was planning on breaking up marriage #2, shortly after he met the woman who was to become wife #3.

A long-time acquaintance of his wrote a book that I own, called

I Knew The Voice of Experience. It is a small volume, and I own a first edition, signed by the author. His perspective of "The Voice", is that although he was generous beyond belief, that generosity was always attached to recognition for the source. In other words, he observed that "The Voice" liked to insure that those who benefited from his donations, knew where it came from, and publicized it.

Despite his observations, the author, Carroll Atkinson, Ph.D, still believed "The Voice" was an absolute genius, and admired him greatly. His book simply portrays Marion Sayle Taylor, the man, with all of his foibles and shortcomings.

After all, he was merely a man. A man who helped thousands of others, but could not seem to help himself.

Our "Voice of Experience" is in here!

Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 Through 1960
Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 Through 1960

Wow! Biographies of 953 radio star performers - that is a lot, and must have taken the author a long time to research them all. Read about Bob Hope, Kay Kyser, Kate Smith, and 950 others who populated the air waves in the heyday of radio programs.

Those were the "good old days", that some people think WEREN'T so good!

 

The Voice of Experience Poll

Have you heard of him, or anyone like him?

See results

Great Book About Vintage Radio

On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio
On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio

If you love vintage radio - or REMEMBER vintage radio - you will enjoy this Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Who could forget Fibber McGee and Molly, The Shadow, Amos and Andy, Gunsmoke, Our Miss Brooks, The Adventures of Nero Wolfe, The Shadow, Lights Out, and of course, The Voice of Experience?

 

Had you ever heard of him before now?

Frankly, I have met very few, who remember “The Voice of Experience“. My dad, who was born in 1916, vaguely remembered him. I would LOVE to have heard him, but I wasn’t even “a thought” when he was on the radio. The best that I can do, is buy the books, read any of the magazines I can find, and share the information with you.

If you have heard of him, please let me know. There are very few people who have ever stirred me with their wisdom. “The Voice of Experience” did that, the first time I encountered him, through his book. His writings stir me still, and I would love to see his books in print, again – for this present generation. I would love to hear his programs, broadcast over the radio waves. What a far cry from the “programming” - and that’s what it is - that we are subject to, today!

© 2014 Emily Tack

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      John-Paul 2 years ago

      The movie "Hit Parade 1937" lists "Sayle Taylor" as playing The Voice of Experience. It is not so easy to spot him, or Arlene Harris, the "Chatterbox" who also played Baby Snooks' mother.

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      Emily Tack 2 years ago from USA

      Thank you, John-Paul. I was beginning to think no one else had ever heard of him! I shall have to drag that movie out of hiding, and watch it again. Despite his "dark side", I have always been amazed at the sound advice he gave to his listeners.

      Appreciate the input, and will follow up on it!

    • profile image

      John-Paul 2 years ago

      I saw a movie from the 1930s about producers who are attempting to bring radio to some natives in the Pacific and they joke that they don't want it since all they have been able to pick up is the "Voice of Experience." I found Taylor in Who's Who after reading about him in my aunt's diaries. I think of him being like the Wizard of Oz advising the Tin Man or the Lion or Scarecrow. A man behind a curtain who wouldn't reveal is own name.

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      Emily Tack 2 years ago from USA

      Thank you, John-Paul. Another enlightening comment from you, about "The Voice of Experience". Was your aunt one of the people who wrote to him, or did she simply mention the radio show in her diaries?

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      Dick Wagner 22 months ago

      My wife and I have written a full biography of Marion Sayle Taylor, The Voice of Experience. It is called "Lies, Sex and Radio Story of M. Sayle Taylor the Voice of Experience." Published by the Coos Historical and Maritime Museum (Coos County, Oregon) in 2013, it is available from several sources for $20. Taylor's daughters from his last marriage contributed. Lots of pictures and little known facts are here.

    • profile image

      Dick Wagner 22 months ago

      "The Hit Parade" movie of 1937 available on the internet is not the real McCoy. It is a later, cut version, circa 1941, retitled "I'll Reach for a Star" and everything from the 1937 original with The Voice of Experience is gone. More details in the book "Lies, Sex and Radio Story of M. Sayle Taylor the Voice of Experience."

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      Emily Tack 22 months ago from USA

      Thank you, Dick! I shall have to get that, as I love reading about him. Interesting character, wasn't he?

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      Emily Tack 22 months ago from USA

      Another bit of trivia I did not know. Thank you, Dick!

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