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'Operation' Board Game Creator Crowdfunding His Oral Surgery Costs

By Chuck Sudo in News on Oct 29, 2014 8:40PM

How many of us grew up with the board game "Operation" in our homes?

John Spinello was a student at the University of Illinois when he created "Operation" in 1964. Spinello was struggling to pay his tuition at the time, so he accepted an agreement to sell the rights to the game to toy company Milton Bradley for $500 and the promise of a job upon graduation.

Needless to say, Spinello received neither the job promised him nor royalties for creating a game that has generated $40 million in sales over the past half century. Now 77, Spinello, Bloomingdale, Illinois, needs $25,000 to cover some oral surgery he needs.

Spinello's friends and fellow game inventors Tim Walsh of Sarasota, Fla., and Peggy Brown, of Milwaukee launched a fundraising campaign for Spinello to help raise those funds.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the campaign has raised over $17,000 toward Spinello's surgery. Spinello recorded a video earlier thanking supporters.

Walsh and Brown also established where fans of the game can gather, share their experiences playing "Operation" and wish Spinello well.

Spinello is expected to put the 50-year-old metal box "Operation" prototype he made up for auction on eBay in December.