Natural-born magic salesman still travels light..

The odds are in Mat Franco‘s favor for a long run as the Strip‘s next resident magician. DENISE TRUSCELLO/COURTESY PHOTO

By Mike Weatherford – Las Vegas Review-Journal

Ah, that smile.

Mat Franco could sell snow to Eskimos.

Musical instruments to a boys band in River City.

New Coke.

Shares in Enron. Or Bernie Madoff’s securities fund.

Selling magic tricks is a minor challenge then for last year’s “America’s Got Talent” winner. Even when, as the 27-year-old notes, his audience is “sitting there trying to ruin it for yourself” by trying to figure out how they’re done.

Maybe the next TV competition can put Franco up against Jimmy Fallon and Andy Samberg as guys who get you with a contagious smile before they even say one word. I wouldn’t bet against him, especially if they let him play the “Grandma card” as he does in the show, one more powerful than all The Flash-like speed shuffles.

Franco’s odds are also good for a long run as the Strip’s next resident magician at The Linq Hotel. A two-hour NBC special airing Thursday can’t hurt.

So, make room for still another magician. But it’s probably good to separate Franco’s short game from the long one. In the early going, his show is more modest than you might expect from a serious commitment by The Linq and producers Base Entertainment, and maybe a little too familiar for those who see other magic shows.