Inside Monopoly's secret war against the Third Reich
- On 29th April 1913, Christopher Clayton Hutton, who earned his pay manufacturing boxes, wrote a letter to Harry Houdini, who earned his own by getting out of them.Clayton Hutton was 20 at the time, a self-confident, ingenious, and perhaps rather eccentric young man working at his uncle's lumber yard in Saltley in the West Midlands. He loved games and showmanship and magic, but he was also somewhat sceptical by nature - possessed of an engineering mentality that sought to understand how things worked and to separate the possible from the impossible. He'd seen Houdini perform an escape act in Birmingham several years previously, and he was struck that the packing crate the magician triumphantly broke free of at the climax of the evening had been in his possession for two whole days before the show. Clayton Hutton's letter was a challenge. Would Houdini attempt an escape from one of the lumber yard's packing crates the next time he was in town - a crate that would be constructed live on stage, by Clayton Hutton's colleagues, in the middle of the performance?