Out Of The Hospital
From the December 1965 issue of TOPs Magazine, by Monk Watson: “How I have missed writing the column even for one month and I how this will make up for it.
First, I want to thank Neil and Jeanne for sending out the letters to my readers and to the dealers about my operation. Abbott’s paid the postage! It has taken me Seventy-One years to find that I have so many friends in Magic. The cards, letters, flowers, were so much help in bringing me back out of a very dark hospital room. It was really an experience that I don’t want any of my friends to have to go through, but if you do it is a pleasure to know that the advances in the world of research in medicine and surgery is far, far ahead of the days when I had a similar operation.
The greatest advance of all is the Intensive Care room. They just will not let you slip off the beam in any direction. Two nurses at your side every minute with a thermometer and telling you, “You must eat or we’ll give you the I.V.” I didn’t know what they were talking about so I said, ”I can’t eat — and what is this business of I. V.?” They explained that it was feeding via intravenously (I think that’s right). Regardless, I didn’t want another needle stuck into me, so I ate anything … but J E L L O. That I couldn’t take after the third spoonful, Water? I hated it, but I had to drink gallons.
The answer is that I must have improved very quickly as on the next day following my operation they told me to walk around the bed. That, I thought, was impossible, but I did it. I had heard that LBJ had gone under at the same hour that I had, so I didn’t want him to get ahead of me. I walked and walked. Then up to my room for the rest of the week, and then out with the stitches, and the doctor said, “When do you want to go home?” I said, “As soon as you get out of my room!”
So a week and one day and I was home, reading my Get Well cards, looking at the Portfolio that I had received from Tommy Windsor, along with a long letter (his first to sick friend) telling me about the fun we used to have at the Get-Togethers of years ago when he did his act and his wife Jeanne did her Vent. A picture of David Hoy, as Mr. Goliath … enough to make a guy creep back into bed and pull the covers over his head. He saw something in my future, he said, and I hope it is good. A card from Duke Stern, about two by three feet, hand-drawn stars with the names of everyone working in the Abbott factory written in the stars, so the title of the card was, “It’s written in the stars, Get Well Soon!” This was the first thing I saw when I came back from cloud nine, and what a great feeling it gave me. Every day a new clever card from Neil and Jeanne Foster and also the funniest cards I have ever seen, from my new friend, Dan Waldron. He found in the Museum of Modern Art, cards with the pictures of the old stars – like Chaplin in a bathtub, reading, “How does that Watson do it? He gets a review of his ‘Opening’ at the Leila Post Hospital!” Says, “It’s probably the first time his audience had HIM in stitches!” This is a funny idea from a very funny fellow, who is making use of his talents by writing commercials for our television shows. Dan never missed a day, while I was in the hospital, with phone calls, cards and flowers.
I wish I could mention everyone who sent me card or letters, but there would be no room left for Crandall or Johnstone or Dorny to blast each other, so I will not take their space away from them.
I could hardly write a column without a mention of a young man whom I met on his first trip to Colon – Karrell Fox. He had a handful of money that would choke an ox, which he had saved for the day when he could come to Abbott’s and buy what he wanted in Magic. I mentioned that I was a Magician and from that moment on he was at my side, asking me about this and that trick. When he left he said that he’d always remember that day, and he has. Through the years he had Birthday Parties in a Detroit hotel and the room (Ballroom) would be crowded with his friends in Magic. He worked in different Magic Dealer’s shops, and by selling tricks over the counter he learned to do so many tricks in the different phases of the profession. This gave him a backlog of hundreds of tricks. Now in TV as Milky the Clown, in Detroit, he has enough material to go on and on forever. I’m sure that his visits to my Casite and Rislone shows didn’t hurt him, because now he is hard at work for almost every automobile company, traveling from coast to coast for their meetings, new showings, and just in there pitching. He’s one of the funniest men in any part of Show Business, and could do any Broadway show if he went for it. Ideas fall out of his brain like lightening. Clever Boy, this Fox, I’m glad I was a part of his early start.”