Box over Regent Street

It's August 1959 and two sandwich board men are walking up and down London's Regent Street, near Piccadilly Circus, the billboards strapped to their bodies advertising the BBC radio show Holiday Music Hall. One of the boards, mounted on their shoulders, features an arrow pointed skywards. You look up and see a black metal box suspended fifty feet above the centre of the road. It is held aloft by cables that stretch from one side of Regent Street to the other. There's a bold question mark painted on the bottom of the box. It's a question that Holiday Music Hall would answer in their show on the 22nd of that month when, as usual, resident Mystery Man David Berglas would work his magic.

The box above Regent Street created a lot of curiosity. It had been examined by some officials from the Admiralty two weeks earlier, locked shut and closed with diplomatic seals. A group of Sea Cadets had arranged the cables across the street and hoisted the box into position. Then another diplomatic seal had been applied to the ropes so that the box could not be moved or tampered with. The reason for this mysterious preparation is about to be revealed as the show's host, Cyril Fletcher, introduces David Berglas.

David begins by explaining that although the studio is a long way from Regent Street, they can link to several guests there via a BBC outside broadcast unit. A moment later he is saying hello to the men from the Admiralty who sealed the box. They are speaking from a room on the top floor of an office block looking out at the box that is twenty feet from their window and several storeys above the ground. The Sea Cadets are with them too and they confirm that the seals on the rope are still in place. "Good," says David, "then we can begin."

Just before the show came on air several men volunteered and one of them was chosen. He is a young student with the unusual name of Rudi Sookoo. David asked him to take out some personal papers. He produced several and decided upon his passport. Someone noted down details from the document which were written on a large board. David placed the passport inside a cellophane bag and then into two envelopes. It hangs now in full view of the audience, singled out by a pair of spotlights. The audience confirm that it has never been out of their sight.

A metal box, a borrowed passport, these are the ingredients for a stunt that David

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