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Neil Foster

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Neil Foster

Cover of Genii (1950)
BornEdgar Neil Foster, Jr.
October 21, 1920
Aurora, Illinois
DiedMarch 11, 1988 (age 67)
Battle Creek, Calhoun, Michigan
CategoriesBooks by Neil Foster

Neil Foster (1920-1988), born Edgar Neil Foster Jr. in Aurora, Illinois, was Abbott Magic Company's chief magician-in-residence and vice president and revived its magazine as the editor of The New Tops.[1][2]


He first starting performing under the name spelled backwards as "Retsof" but stopped when people erroneously called him "Ratsof."

In 1947, Foster went to California to enroll in the Chavez Studio of Magic.[3] When Foster graduated from the course, Ben and Marian Chavez hired Foster to tutor new students. In 1955, Foster married Jeanne Hammond, and started performing as a magical team touring school-assembly circuit under the sponsorship of the lecture bureaus of the universities of Wisconsin, Minnesota and North and South Dakota.

After a stint for the Ireland Magic Co. in Chicago, Foster moved to Colon in 1959 to become the Abbott Magic Company's chief magician-in-residence and vice president. He became a frequent performer at the annual Abbott's Get-Togethers. In 1960, Foster revived The Tops magazine as the editor of The New Tops.

In 1977, the Academy of Magical Arts presented Foster with the Performing Fellowship Award. This was the year Neil gave the final performance of his “Concert of Magic” at the 40th Annual Abbott's Magic Get Together in Colon, Michigan. The performance was recorded by Todd Simpson and recently converted from Super 8mm film to a digital format. Here is a link to the video on YouTube: Neil Foster - Concert of Magic 1977 - Abbott's 40th Magic Get Together

In 1978, Foster became a partner in the Chavez school, eventually acquiring control of its Eastern branch.

In August, 1987, Foster was honored by the American Museum of Magic in Marshall, Michigan, which had proclaimed August 9 as "Neil Foster Day."

The former Battle Creek Magic Club was renamed the International Brotherhood of Magicians Neil Foster Ring 89 in his honor. The Ring continues to meet at the American Museum of Magic in nearby Marshall, and has staged productions that in part honor Foster's memory and contributions to magic.

Foster became known for his trademark presentation of Joe Karson's commercial floating-ball effect, "Zombie," by transforming it from a small-scale trick into a stage-filling dance reminiscent of the routines of Fred Astaire.[4][5]


  • Further Tips on Zombie (1963)
  • Tops Treasury of Illusion (1965)
  • Tops Treasury of Dove Magic (1965)
  • Tops Treasury of Cigarette Magic (1965)


  2. Genii, Vol. 14, No. 10, June 1950, Meet Neil Foster by Vivian Cosby, page 355
  3. Memoirs Of A Magician's Ghost, THE CHAVEZ COLLEGE OF MAGIC, of John Booth, in The Linking Ring, Vol. 66, No. 12, December 1986, pages 57 - 60
  4. Genii, Vol. 51, No. 6, December 1987, Obituaries, Neil Foster 1920-1988, page 41
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 36, No. 12, February 1957, Jeanne and Neil Foster by Bruce Posgate, page 33
  • M-U-M, Vol. 67, No. 8, January 1978, NEIL FOSTER FROM A TO Z, magician-of-the-month by Daniel Waldron, page 11
  • Magic Circular, Vol. 82, No. 885, April 1988, Obituary NEIL FOSTER, 1920-1988, page 96
  • The Linking Ring, Vol. 68, No. 5, May 1988, In Memoriam NEIL FOSTER BY HOWARD BAMMAN, page 65, Broken Wand NEIL FOSTER, page 113
  • M-U-M, Vol. 78, No. 1, June 1988, BROKEN WANDS, NEIL FOSTER, page 34
  • Todd Simpson, YouTube June 2018, Copyright 1977/2018, Neil Foster Concert of Magic 1977, Abbott's 40th Magic Get Together