Documentary recalls operation to help 'Operation' inventor

Tim Walsh never expected one good deed to go so far.

"We set out to help a friend," he explained.  "I noticed over the years his health was declining."

Tim's friend, John Spinello, created the beloved game "Operation," played by generations of Americans.
Forty-five million copies of it have been sold, but all John ever saw was $500, when he sold the idea to a toy company in 1964.

So when the inventor of "Operation" needed an expensive operation himself last year -- oral surgery at the cost of $25,000 -- Walsh and another toy inventor began an online fundraising campaign.

"We got 1,200 emails from people and donations from people all over the world for thanking him for creating a game they loved," said Walsh.

Within eight days, Spinello was fully funded.  The donations poured in with many notes telling an unexpected story.

"We had a nurse give us a thousand dollars and wrote, 'I got into the medical field because of this game,'" Walsh recalled.

There were thousands of such stories.  It turns out, John's game has influenced a lot of kids to grow up to become doctors, nurses, and researchers.

"We got an email from Andrew Goldstone and he credited the game for influencing him to create a medical device that went on to help a lot of people," Walsh continued.

That device, just like "Operation," warns a surgeon if they are getting too close to delicate nerves.
These stories of inspiration have inspired a documentary "The Buzz Heard 'Round the World."

"Kids; when they play, that is how they learn and figure out their world. For a lot of kids, it is the way they envision their future," Walsh said.

Spinello lives in Chicago and can't believe what his one invention started.

"Everything has been an adventure. It was all unexpected. It was all a bonus for doing the game and I couldn't be more proud or pleased," he told FOX 13.

Spinello wouldn't change a thing.

"I was thinking a fun game for the kids and that was my primary goal. What happened after that is history," he added.

The documentary is expected to be released in the spring of 2016.