World-famous escapologist Harry Houdini - that's him in his swimmers - was a big draw for audiences when he performed in Glasgow.

Needless to say, Glasgow being Glasgow, he got more than he bargained for when he appeared at the Pavilion in 1920.

The letter below, published in the Evening Times, set him a proper challenge.


We, the undersigned shipwrights, employees of Lithgow, Ltd, Glen Yard, Port-Glasgow, having heard that the authorities have refused permission to permit yourself to be nailed in a box which is to be weighted and thrown into the Clyde River, naturally, you not being super-human, must admit that the box is of your own construction, and we HEREBY CHALLENGE you to escape from a heavy wooden packing case which we will specially construct for the challenge.
We will send it to the Pavilion for examination.
If you accept our challenge, it is understood you must not demolish it in your efforts to escape.
If you are afraid to try this in public, will you try it privately?

Houdini took up the challenge, and sold-out the theatre - although he never came back to Glasgow.

He died, six years later, after suffering a ruptured appendix.

The old legend, that during his visit, Houdini had to be rescued after accidentally getting locked in the gents' lavvies at the theatre, is apocryphal; although it does make for a great Glasgow story.