The idea of a battery-operated electric game that would light a bulb when two metal parts touched each other, goes back to patents from the 1920s. The most successful of the electric games (mostly question-and-answer games) came from the Knapp Electric Corp., a company in the business of making electric heaters. In 1928, they got their patent for the “Electric Questioner,” as the games came to be called. Nearly 40 years later, in 1964, a man named John Spinello invented an electric game where the object was to insert a metal wand into troughs in a metal plate supported by a frame, without touching the metal edges of the troughs. If an unsteady hand caused the wand to hit the metal plate, a light would go on and a buzzer would go off – the buzzer being the element that was different from the previous electric games.

Spinello sold his game to Marvin Glass, a firm that invented and developed toy and game ideas, and they put the operation theme on it, substituting shaped holes for the original troughs. Marvin Glass gave Spinello $500 and the promise of a job. He never got the job, but Glass made millions licensing the game to Milton Bradley, and Bradley and then Hasbro made multi-millions selling the game and countless licensed film and TV character editions, including Star Wars, Toy Story, Shrek, Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-man, Cars, The Simpsons, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Nascar “Pit Stop,” Spongebob Squarepants, Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas, Dr. Who (in the UK) and others. Add to this various apparel, accessories, pens, cards and miniature sets, and you can see the full world created by this one game, Operation.

Vielen Dank an unser Mitglied Bruce Whitehill für die „Story of Operation“!

Operation Doctor Who Edition