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Surgery restores Foster's ability, published Nov. 4, 1979, in the Battle Creek (MI) Enquirer
Like a pianist reflecting on the possibility that he may never play again, master magical manipulator Neil Foster of Colon recently faced the prospect of professional doom.
During performances in recent months, Foster noticed that when he caused billiard balls, cards, cigarettes and his famous floating silver ball to appear and vanish so dexterously, the painstaking hand movements weren't coming so easily.
He consulted a neurosurgeon, Dr. Michael G. Hughes, who asked him if, by any chance, he happened to do repetitive work which caused constant pressure on his elbows.
Sure enough, Foster had for the past 20 years been editor, layout man and jack of all trades for "The New Tops" magazine, a periodical for magicians distributed worldwide by Colon's Abbott Magic Co., the world's largest manufacturer of magicians' equipment.
The constant pressure on his elbows at the editor's desk had caused extensive damage to the nerves controlling both arms, Foster said the doctor told him. Had not Foster noticed the weakness in his hands, the condition may eventually have become irreversible and caused a total loss of strength in both arms, he was told.
And that would have been a loss for the world of magic as well as for Foster, who is considered by magicians across the nation to be one of the foremost manipulative performers in the world today.
Hughes operated on Foster's arms Oct. 23, correcting the damage and moving the nerves themselves to different positions in Foster's arms. Within days, Foster was smiling at the renewed strength he had found in his fingers.
And to prove it, he picked up a deck of playing cards, made them vanish and reappear as a number of beautifully spread fans.
"I feel good," he said.
Foster has been devoting much of his time lately to a long-lost love, that of teaching magic to students enrolled in the Chavez School of Magic, for which Foster is the only full-time representative east of the Mississippi River.
He holds daily classes in Colon with the seven students currently enrolled in the school, and is imparting to them a love for his art and a skill which he now prizes perhaps far more dearly than he had ever thought possible.
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OTHER PHOTOS of Neil Foster
ARTICLES ABOUT NEIL FOSTER:
Ovation for Neil Foster (1977)
Neil Foster recalls Queen Elizabeth (1977)
Jeanne Foster's obituary (1979)
Background on Neil Foster (1981)
The Chavez course under Neil Foster (1981)
Neil Foster press release (1981)
Magic museum honors Foster (1987)
Neil Foster's obituary (1988)
Recollections of Neil Foster (1988)
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