(Close Window)
Topic: Telephone Bill
Message: Posted by: Bill Cushman (Nov 28, 2008 02:15PM)
I am releasing my latest effect, “Telephone Bill,” after a whirlwind few days test-driving some potential tweaks only to realize that my original presentation plays the strongest. Every time I thought I was improving it, I came back to concluding that my first idea is my best idea.

I never strayed from the method, which is squeaky clean, but kept wondering and trying out different twists presentation-wise. To those of you here who endured this process with me, and you know who you are (!), thank you for your patience.

While “Telephone Bill” can be performed live and in person and plays very strongly that way, I designed it (surprise!) for use over the phone. Where given the inherent impossible conditions, it plays all that much stronger.

Here is the basic effect:

“After calling your friend or a potential client, you have him shuffle a pack of cards and randomly cut off about 1/3rd of the deck. The rest of the cards are set aside and not touched again.

He selects a “control color” and deals his pile into two hands, one for each of you. Picking up your hand, he counts the number of cards matching the control color, keeping the number secret. Without asking any questions or requiring any further steps, you tell him how many cards of the opposite color are in his own hand!”

Good friend and mentor Millard Longman was one of the first persons I ambushed with “Telephone Bill.” I simply left him a message telling to call me back when he had five minutes and a deck of cards handy.

Millard called back and I performed my new baby. At first there was dead silence and then he began laughing so loudly his wife came to check up on him and make sure he was OK!

He had this to say when I asked him to sum up the experience afterwards in a few sentences:

“When Dr. Bill did this effect for me over the phone, I was stunned! The procedure is fast and easy (no boredom here as in many phone tricks) requiring only a deck of playing cards. There seems to be no way for the performer to know anything about the number of cards since he is on the phone and cannot see what you are doing.

First class telephone magic!”

This exemplifies the responses I’ve received from magi and laypeople alike. Just so you know, not only do you not see what the person on the other end of the line is doing, you are not relying on hearing as they count or the length of time it takes to complete any of your requests. There is no guesswork or estimation.

Also, “Telephone Bill” can be performed with an incomplete deck, something very important when calling your average layperson. Or at least my family and friends!

“Telephone Bill” plays as “remote clairvoyance,” as the participant doesn’t know the number of cards until after you ask him to count to verify your impression. As usual, I include several tips that are applicable to many other effects and the performance of mentalism, especially phone mentalism, in general.

The PDF is only six pages long but packs a lot of information within. No essays or amusing anecdotes this time, just good, solid mentalism.

Given the holiday weekend, it isn’t possible to get the ad in place for a few days so I thought I’d get the ball rolling here.

“Telephone Bill” is only ten dollars and can be obtained by sending that amount via PayPal to wcushman@bellsouth.net. This is not a presale, the PDF is complete so turn around time will be within 24 hours.
Message: Posted by: Greg Arce (Nov 28, 2008 08:00PM)
Oh, boy... here it comes. I read it. It's good... just like everything else Bill puts out. An easy over-the-phone effect that uses the spectator's own cards.

I think Bill is keeping some sort of idea making machine under that fro.

Message: Posted by: Tony Iacoviello (Nov 28, 2008 08:34PM)
I just had the opportunity to read through this manuscript and it is a fantastic over-the-phone piece. It is, as was pointed out above, "An easy over-the-phone effect that uses the spectator's own cards" but is not really a card trick. It is a wonderful, and easy piece of over-the phone Mind Reading.

I have to be honest with you, this is the first Telephone Bill I ever enjoyed looking at, and it is the first one that I will show to others. ;)

Message: Posted by: Greg Arce (Nov 28, 2008 09:14PM)
Tony added some stuff I forgot to say. Bill has included his script that adds more deception to it and allows you to appear to have more hits than just the effect itself.

Message: Posted by: Bill Cushman (Nov 28, 2008 10:46PM)
Thanks gentlemem! This one is so much fun to perform. Maybe becuase it is mine, but the directions are few and easy to follow.

It doesnn't seem like the effect begins until the very end and all the work is done. When that is out of the way, the person on the other end of the line holds their hand above their cards and you tell them the number. Easy-peasy.

And like mentioned above, along the way, you have numerous opportunitites to read other aspects of what is happening in the room the participant is callng you from. It can get a bit spooky. Quite the bang for ten bucks.
Message: Posted by: Turk (Nov 29, 2008 12:55AM)
This is another nice effect from Bill. Very easy to read, understand and implement.

As with most "over the phone' effects, audience management is critical. You must be able to give clear and precise instructions and the perticipant must be able to understand such instructions and be able to easily implement those insturctions. Over the phone, you cannot see if the participant is messing up nor can he understand if he is mession up.

Bill's instructions (heck, his [i]script[/i]) are clear and are easy to follow. Almost as easy as a "paint-a-number" kit. Just follow the script...you can't go wrong--and the participant will easily be able to understand and implement your instructions.

Another winner from Dr. Bill.

Message: Posted by: Mick Ayres (Nov 29, 2008 10:00AM)
How did Bill come up with this fine effect in the first place? Just look at that photo and explain how he even gets a phone near his ear. C'mon. I'm waiting.

Oh well.

I called several friends and acquaintances (summer conjurors, summer not) this morning and had loads of fun baffling them easily. Later, when my neighbor dropped by to borrow some tools, I had him sit on the far side of the room while I walked him through Bill's effect. He left shaking his head in wonder.

This is a excellent out-of-the-room demonstration of clairvoyance, remote viewing, mindreading.

Grand Holidays,
Mick Ayres
Message: Posted by: Dr Spektor (Nov 29, 2008 10:07PM)


As Bill knows, I fired him off my idea to turn the thing into a bizarre magick mentalism routine that combines also psychic readings and the Ying Yang theme... and interacting with one's own dark shadow self - with the mystery entertainer being the facillitator over the phone to guide the person into the Twilight Zone!

Well worth the price!!! The method can easily be shaped for your own presentation style, like I just did.

So what is next? The Mr. Bill Roulette of Horrible Mr. Hand Events... or the Send me the Bill - a Mail effect? Keep em coming!!!
Message: Posted by: Bill Cushman (Nov 29, 2008 10:51PM)
How about, "The Bill Is In The Mail" and when you open your package, it is full of hair. Meanwhile back at the Café, may avatar is still fifteen but bald.
Message: Posted by: DT3 (Nov 30, 2008 04:24AM)
Telephone is SO much fun!
Message: Posted by: Rick (Nov 30, 2008 08:54AM)
I just got this and man was it worth it..Bill I will use this! Thanks..
Message: Posted by: Doctor REvil (Nov 30, 2008 10:24AM)
This is by far an Out-Standing effect, absoloutly devestating & for me the BEST effect for 2008!

Thank you Dr Bill.
Message: Posted by: Nathan Pain (Nov 30, 2008 05:42PM)
I got mine & haven't even read it yet...what the huh is wrong with me?

Tonight, tonight!

Message: Posted by: Bill Cushman (Dec 3, 2008 03:05AM)
Thanks, guys, and while that is some compliment Dr. REvil, it is hard for me to imagine my short but sweet contribution to phone magic wearing such a grand mantle. But I do appreciate the sentiment.

And, yes, Nathan what the huh is wrong with you? :). Just teasing, I know you have a busy life and whenever you find time to give Telephone Bill proper attention that will be the best time to not just read it, but to USE it.

People seem to be having a lot of fun with this one and it is creating many inspired variations and presentations. I love when things work out in just that way.
Message: Posted by: Waters (Dec 3, 2008 05:56AM)
I finally read Dr. Bill's latest release...

Once again, Dr. Bill has provided our community a great resource and a clever idea. I really enjoy powerful over the phone mental effects and Bill's is just that. For years, I have enjoyed performing Eddie Fields "over the phone" effect (the proper name escapes me). I am sure Bill's will serve me in the exact same way.

If a person wanted a complete set of phone effects, I whole heartedly recommend:

Telephone Bill (our own Dr. Bill)
Eddie Fields effect (in the Greater Arfult Dodges book)
HASTERIX (Lewis Jones)

Now... who can I call at 6:55 in the morning?

Message: Posted by: Lumas (Dec 3, 2008 04:42PM)
I rarely comment on effects I purchase because the majority of the time, they are either 1) very bad or 2) mediocre. Also, a great deal of effects are not usable in the real world.

I read this a few days ago, made some presentational tweaks, and performed this last night to a few different friends on the phone. Needless to say, they were quite amazed.

-Extremely simple to perform.
-Presentational directions are very clear, so there is no chance of your spectator messing up the trick due to him/her misinterpreting your instructions.
-Plays very strong.
-Minimal counting of cards, deck cutting, dealing, etc. This point makes or breaks most telephone effects for me.

-Like most self-working effects of this nature, there are a few things the spectator has to do to make the effect work (you weren't expecting real mind reading, now, were you?). However, as I already stated above, the processes are minimal and it flows well, so this really isn't much of a con. I felt the need to tweak the patter a bit to go along with what the spectator is doing, though it will play just as strong as is.

I would recommend that anyone looking for an impromptu, self-working, hard hitting effect, considers purchasing "Telephone Bill." I know I will not only continue to use this over the phone, but that I will also use it in person when I am requested to perform something with a borrowed deck. This would be a great opener.

This is one of the few times that I can truly say, anyone who purchases this effect will not be disappointed and will have a new, solid effect that they will actually use.

Good job, Dr. Bill!
Message: Posted by: dcoins (Dec 3, 2008 09:00PM)
This sounds terrific. Not surprising as Bill's material is always top notch. One question: will the spectator be able to reconstruct the effect after it is completed by simply repeating steps?


Message: Posted by: Mick Ayres (Dec 4, 2008 07:52AM)
No worries there, D.

One of the things I like most about 'Telephone Bill' is that it ISN'T a selected card revelation. Lately, I've been calling friends and performing Dr. Bill's routine...then I use their same cards to perform 'Reality Phone Experience' from Predict-Abilities. These routines dovetail perfectly.

Grand holidays,
Message: Posted by: dcoins (Dec 4, 2008 10:32AM)
Terrific. Thanks a lot.

Message: Posted by: muse (Dec 5, 2008 02:49PM)
This is one of those things where it's hard to work out why it worked even when you do it yourself. I've only done it in person so far, rather than over the phone, and a typical reaction was "But that's impossible". There are instructions your victim has to follow, but they are put very clearly in the text, and I haven't had anyone find them either unclear or over complex.

This would be ideal to have in case someone asked you to 'do something' impromptu out of the blue, and had a deck of cards which may or may not be complete, and where you didn't want to launch into a series of effects, but did want to give a flavour of the sort of thing you do.

The pdf is clearly laid out and the text is easy to follow. Dr Bill has done a good job, in my opinion this is a clever piece of something to have tucked away in your brain.
Message: Posted by: Turk (Dec 5, 2008 03:40PM)
If performing in person, I think that it is an ideal phase to blend with Mirabill (also by Bill Cushman). I love three phase routines and I'd probably do the two phases of Mirabill and one phase of Telephone Bill. Then again, maybe one phase of Mirabill and two phases of Telephone Bill. (AAARGH!! Decisions, decisions....)

Of course, Telephone Bill over the phone is still a dandy effect by itself.

Just, IMHO. Your mileage may vary.

Message: Posted by: Jack Maxwell (Dec 9, 2008 02:28PM)
This is really cool! Doc did this and blew my mind. I didn't tell him anything useful and he obviously didn't see s**t. He refused to tell me the work until the next time we get together and I haven't come close to figuring it out. And I consider myself a cardguy! I hate mentalists! Just kidding :)
Message: Posted by: Marc Frese (Dec 10, 2008 05:55AM)
Hey folks,
I've ordered it.
The idea, or rather the concept is awesome.
But I am missing something.
It lacks the story to me.
The lack of WOW in the trick.
Perhaps I missed something in the description.
How you present the concept?
Message: Posted by: Bill Cushman (Dec 12, 2008 01:26AM)
Hi Marc,

You ask a fair question and I'll give you a fair answer. I put in some broad clues to the storyline I use but I didn't want to say too much and interfere with the creative process needed to make it your own. You can also see from comments on this thread by others, some hints toward their scripting.

I emphasize remote viewing. You can see how others apply a theme of clairvoyance or mind reading. Elsewhere a "You do as I do" is mentioned.

The remote viewing tact, as mentioned by others, dovetails nicely into the impressions you receive that have nothing whatsoever to do with final revelation of the number of the cards.

And there is a visualization component of having the guest imagine you are sitting across from them. Get them to imagine you in the room and you are already in their head. I didn't detail the visualization too much becuase if it is your kind of thing it will grow organically and exponentially when you do it.

That will amp up your WOW factor without even using a specific story. More a process unfolding until they hold their hand above a pile of cards you can't know anything about and then you reveal the number of cards of the target color. Something they don't know until they count them!

And don't underestimate the power of having the guest count the way I teach in Telephone Bill. It provides a strong build, marks that the effect is over and leaves the guest no where to go but into a tailspin.

If you're still not sure where to start, try going with one of the above and see where it takes you.

Come back with more questions if needed and feel free to PM or email.


Message: Posted by: Sid Helkule (Dec 12, 2008 04:04PM)
It's up at Outlaw-Effects new digs:


Love the effect Bill, brilliant!

Message: Posted by: p_n_g (Dec 16, 2008 09:43AM)
I have just received this, and I am very satisfied!
I adapted this to a "new version" : instead of the cards I use coins, cause I think more people has change money than cards.
Message: Posted by: Bill Cushman (Dec 19, 2008 08:47AM)
Good thinking p_n_g! Thematically, I have my reasons for using cards but I'm definitely going to try out your adaptiation. How do you handle the use of coins in your presentation? If not appropriate to post, please PM me.

And Luke, you are the best. Everyone start clapping your hands, go back a page and look at the new ad for Telephone Bill that Luke kindly created for me; It practically pops off of the page!
Message: Posted by: Tony Iacoviello (Dec 19, 2008 04:33PM)
I love the ad!
Message: Posted by: rowdymagi5 (Dec 19, 2008 05:31PM)
Y'all talked me into it, just ordered it!
Message: Posted by: Sid Helkule (Dec 20, 2008 07:40AM)
Thanks Bill! To be honest though, the ad doesn't do Telpehone Bill justice... It may pop off the page, but I used this on a couple of friends the other day and popped their minds! I love your thinking, keep 'em coming!

Message: Posted by: Bill Cushman (Dec 20, 2008 03:55PM)
If you'd like to do you own "mind popping" at a discount, check out "Dr. Bill's Holiday Sale" on the Penny For Your Thoughts thread! Buy any one ebook and get the rest of your order at 20% off. Check out the specifics on the thread. And thanks for a great catch phrase, Luke!
Message: Posted by: p_n_g (Jan 5, 2009 01:54PM)
On 2008-12-19 09:47, Bill Cushman wrote:
Good thinking p_n_g! Thematically, I have my reasons for using cards but I'm definitely going to try out your adaptiation. How do you handle the use of coins in your presentation? If not appropriate to post, please PM me.

And Luke, you are the best. Everyone start clapping your hands, go back a page and look at the new ad for Telephone Bill that Luke kindly created for me; It practically pops off of the page!

Hi! Just sent you a pm!
Message: Posted by: Bill Cushman (Jan 6, 2009 04:20AM)
Thanks for the PM! It looks very interesting but I need to read it in the morning when my head is clear. I have at least one question and will PM you back.

From what I do understand so far, this is an absorbing presentation using coins rather than cards. I like your style!
Message: Posted by: p_n_g (Jan 6, 2009 05:49AM)

Just sent you 2 pm, because I made a mistake in the first one, and sent you an other (hopefully better) example.
Message: Posted by: Bill Cushman (Jan 6, 2009 03:49PM)
Got it! My question is answered with your pointing out the mistake. That is exactly what confused me.

I like the alternative presentation a lot as well. The premise you use in either case, is very engaging. Thanks!

Message: Posted by: Nathan Pain (Jan 6, 2009 04:50PM)
I don't suppose you fellas would like to share with the rest of the class?


Message: Posted by: Bill Cushman (Jan 7, 2009 07:03AM)
That is up to p_n_g who can p_m_ m_e_ if he would like to discuss this matter!
Message: Posted by: Nathan Pain (Jan 7, 2009 08:48AM)
Picture me with sad puppy dog eyes right now....

Message: Posted by: rowdymagi5 (Jan 7, 2009 09:34AM)
I did this effect for my two teenage kids last night and it went over very well. Some friends came over and I repeated it for them (I did it in a very casual manner). To my surprise they were very impressed. For such a simple and very well priced e-book, I can say that this is a sure winner.

Great thinking! I cant wait to try it out over the phone!
Message: Posted by: p_n_g (Jan 7, 2009 11:28PM)
If anyone interested in my presentation with coins then please p.m. me for details.
Message: Posted by: Bill Cushman (Jan 8, 2009 10:12PM)
P_n_g has put together a very nice 3-page ebook! He will ensure that those he sends it to are owners of Telephone Bill.

Adding interest is that Papp Nobert Gabor is from Hungary and gives his example with Hungarian coins. There are five coins used in Hungary and Papp has divided them into those that are "lovely" and those that are "unlovely." You will find it easy to adapt his effect to the coinage of your own country.

There is something quaint about Papp's presentation that I really enjoyed. There are some small language difficulties but Papp does a fine job in bridging them and for me, imagining a native Hungarian speaking in his somewhat broken English of “lovely and unlovely coins” was very evocative of "old world" sensibilities and charm.

Papp is being very generous in sharing his "Coin Version-Telephone Bill" and I suspect will receive many well-deserved thanks. To begin, my great grandmother, born in Budapest, sends her best from the Summerland and thanks you for lending a touch of class to her grandson’s efforts.
Message: Posted by: p_n_g (Jan 8, 2009 10:58PM)
Thanks Bill for the kind words. I hope the other one will also enjoy my take on the original effect too.

Thanks again for everyone - especially Bill for his original

p.s. : I am still learning English :)
p.s2 : If you are interested and have the original, then p.m me, and I will send you a copy freely.

Papp Norbert Gabor
Message: Posted by: Nathan Pain (Jan 9, 2009 06:41AM)
The coin version is super cool...it has opened up my brain (always a good thing) to other ideas...for instance, you call a place where there is a group of people...men & women...do the human version of Telephone Bill!

Message: Posted by: fib (Jan 9, 2009 07:45AM)
Thank you, Bill. It's brilliant.
Message: Posted by: p_n_g (Jan 9, 2009 07:47AM)
On 2009-01-09 07:41, Nathan Pain wrote:
The coin version is super cool...it has opened up my brain (always a good thing) to other ideas...for instance, you call a place where there is a group of people...men & women...do the human version of Telephone Bill!


I am glad you enjoyed my version. Your human version sounds funny :)
Message: Posted by: Dr. Eamon (Jan 9, 2009 01:21PM)
´This sound very nice, I will order the e-book too,

can´t wait...

Message: Posted by: Bill Cushman (Jan 10, 2009 12:31AM)
I'm here, awake, and in front of the computer for a while, Dr. Eamon

Where in the Netherlands do you live? A close friend lives in Delft with his wife and two daughters.

The Netherlands was one of the most beautiful and tranquil countries we’ve ever visited.

I'd love to go back some day for a visit. As a matter of fact, my now wife and I were sure we would end up living there we were so enamored with the country..

How does it go? Life is what happens while we are making other plans? Back then, I never in a million years would have imagined I'd be a psychologist in Florida, that I'd dropped all interest in magic to concentrate solely (souly?) on mentalism, writing ebooks for fellow mentalists under my alter ego, Dr. Bill.

By the way, Dr. Bill will be announcing a new ebook soon, "RhymeTime Sublime." Fully supported by Mick Ayres’ I’ve taken Mick’s principal and created an awesome impromptu book test. Actually, it works with all written materials. If Mick and I are right, you guys are going to love this!

But back to Telephone Bill. I’m hijacking my own thread J!

Nathan, a human version of Telephone Bill! What a mind blowing idea. The only hard part would be not being there to watch the hilarity as it all unfolds. What great thinking.

Half the fun for me is seeing what my material inspires to new heights. Truly rewarding.
Message: Posted by: Nathan Pain (Jan 10, 2009 09:30AM)
Thanks, Doc!

Message: Posted by: espmagic (Aug 23, 2009 08:35PM)
I just got mine from Bill, and I wanted to thank Norbert Papp for allowing Bill to include his version(!) using coins - nicely done, and thank you!

Now, get ready to have your phone ring,

Message: Posted by: Bill Cushman (Aug 24, 2009 11:35PM)
Glad you like it Lee. Norbert was so generous to allow his to be included with each sale that I appreciate your giving him the credit he deserves. It is great version. I've been working with a very famous and talanted member our brotherhood on taking the coin idea even further and if it happens that I can include that too everyone should be really happy. I will let you know.
Message: Posted by: MikeMgc (Sep 8, 2016 06:46AM)
An Incredible Effect, very strong. Just picked this up from Lybrary.com.

I find that it works very well as a follow up to Phone Zone (Lie Detector) Peter Duffie.
Message: Posted by: Bill Cushman (Feb 10, 2017 09:52AM)
Thank you MikeMgc! I realize this is a bit after the fact but I don't frequent this thread these days and didn't know about your post until a friend mentioned it. I'm glad you liked Telephone Bill so much. I'll have to check out Peter's Phone Zone