SHE WAS “Hollywood’s greatest musical star”, according to an advert in the Evening Times, welcoming Betty Grable to Glasgow on April 1, 1969.

The woman who famously once insured her legs for a million dollars was in town to star at the Alhambra Theatre.

Paisley film historian and author Brian Hannah was delighted to find details of her Glasgow appearance while researching his latest book, When Women Ruled Hollywood.

“Betty Grable was at the Alhambra in April 1969 for three weeks,” he explained.

“Prices ranged from four shillings for the balcony to three pounds and ten shillings for boxes. She was a huge star.”

It was an ‘out-of-London’ try-out run, before the musical moved to the Palace Theatre (where it was called Belle Starr after Grable’s character.)

Our sister newspaper The Glasgow Herald was over the moon to see Grable in the city.

Reviewer William Hunter suggested Glasgow Corporation should, instead of preserving the Alhambra, “preserve Betty Grable, make her a national treasure and stop her from leaving the city boundaries.”

(As it turned out, the 1969 season was to be the Alhambra’s last.)

This was Grable’s European stage debut, and she made the most of every promotion opportunity in the run-up to the show opening.

Had you been walking through St Enoch Square at the time, you might have been forgiven for thinking you were seeing things, as Grable and her co-stars Blayne Barrington and Ray Chiarella rode a Wild West-style wagon and horses around the city centre.

Barrington and Chiarella played Billy the Kid and Jessie James respectively. For a fortnight, the house was packed, because Grable was a bona fide legend.

However, the show did not go down as well as it might have with the critics – our own Jack House was slightly bemused to find the audience on their feet applauding at the end.

“I was applauding too – partly out of sympathy, and partly because my friends were patting me on the shoulder and saying, ‘you don’t get great artists like that nowadays’,” he wrote.

“I never thought Betty Grable was a great artist at all, but you don’t like to be the odd man out.

“In my humble opinion Betty Grable can’t act for toffee and she can’t sing either, but she has personality and beautiful legs. Perhaps that’s enough.”

Mr House predicted the show would close within a month but in fact, it shut down after just 16 performances in London’s west end.

Wartime pin-up Grable was once the highest paid film star in the world.

Born Elizabeth Ruth Grable in 1916 in Missouri, the young star landed several minor roles in movies before bigger parts came her way in 1934 (By Your Leave) and College Swing in 1938.

Her big break came as Glenda Crawford in Down Argentine Way in 1940 and she enchanted movie-goers all over the world in comedies such as Coney Island and Sweet Rosie O’Grady in 1943.

Her famous pin-up pose during World War II adorned many barracks and In 1947, the United States Treasury Department noted that she was the highest paid star in America, earning about $300,000 a year - a lot of money even by today’s standards.

Later, 20th Century-Fox, who had her under contract, insured her legs with Lloyds of London for a million dollars.

She continued to be popular until the mid-1950s, when musicals went into a decline. Her last film was How to Be Very, Very Popular (1955) and she moved into theatre. She died at the age of 56 from lung cancer.