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What’s not to like? Socks is a light hearted mentalism routine that packs a double punch and could easily be incorporated into an otherwise mind reading free act. It probably won’t appeal to the serious “I can really read your mind” mentalist but I can see this being a big hit with mainstream magicians.
Based on a plot originally performed on television by Paul Daniels circa 1990, Michel Huot has created a different method and presentation suitable for close-up and parlour settings.
Two sets of playing cards are displayed each colourfully printed with a different design of sock. A spectator is invited to try and find a matching pair by randomly selecting two face down cards. Played well there is comedy potential as the performer discovers that the spectator has failed, selecting two contrasting designs. All is not lost as the performer pulls up his trouser legs to reveal that he is wearing two different socks that exactly match the selection. In an unexpected kicker all the cards are then turned over showing that every pair match.
What makes this a successful entertaining effect? First the novelty of the plot. It’s a prediction but the presentation is light hearted and fun and the revelation very visual and unexpected.
Second, unlike so many of the ‘suitable only for YouTube releases’ this effect has been worked. With live audiences. In the usual video download you get thirty five minutes of explanation, small variations and handling tips all derived from experience.
From little touches like timing how the chosen cards are turned over which gets the most from the performers own reaction to an apparent failure, to detailed advice about dealing with unexpected outcomes during the force. Huot uses a psychological timing force which is fully explained and for the less confident demonstrates three other alternatives. The whole explanation is very clear and done with some humour.
This is a relatively easy trick to perform and with a little handling practice would soon be performable. An obvious limitation is that for maximum effect you need to be wearing trousers. Anyone who performs in a kilt, or a dress, will need to find an alternative revelation. The socks also come with a hidden bonus woven into the sole. On one is a suit of a card, on the other a value. What you do with that is up to you.
The poker size cards are well made and attractively printed and come in a good quality leather case. The pattern on the two socks is very bright and they are just short of knee length so easily seen even in a large room. You also get instructions on how to put the socks on. This may seem strange but is actually very sensible as you will probably want to perform this effect often and keeping the socks in good condition is important. I’ve not tried washing my pair so I’ve no idea if they are colour fast!
Review by Stuart Bowie. Originally published in Magicseen Magazine, issue 89