A long-forgotten name from out of the dim and distant past suddenly came to my attention recently as I was looking through a “Maurice Francis Archives” post of 30 January 2022. It concerned an individual named William Sidney Nabors, who in World War II (WWII) was a civilian prisoner of the Nipponese for 37 months in Manila’s Santo Tomas Internment Camp (STIC). The significance of Nabors is the fact that his assumed name — which he used when he performed as a professional wrestler — was Danny Dusek (pictured at left). Now, while I did not know Nabors, in STIC or elsewhere, I was aware of the name and occupation of Danny Dusek, for he was well-known in the U.S. and the Philippines before WWII. He must have been well-known, as even I had heard of him, although I was not interested in sports at the time and was just 11 years old when I was welcomed into STIC. Probably I knew of Dusek because I was (and still am) a habitual listener to radio, and possibly also because of mentions by my father, who was interested in wrestling and especially boxing (he once took me along to see Jack Dempsey’s arrival at the Manila airport); and publicity surrounding Dusek’s arrival in the Philippines in 1941 undoubtedly was a major factor. [Note: for present purposes, pro wrestling is treated as a legitimate sport.]
The initial material available to me (via the various links in the cited Maurice Francis post) about Nabors/Dusek — hereafter cited only as Dusek — revealed that he had resumed his wrestling career when he returned to the U.S. after STIC’s liberation in 1945, and indeed continued it long thereafter. But one thing about that material puzzled me: it did not once mention what I considered to be a significant fact — his STIC imprisonment for over three years. That odd omission (even in his obituary) helped propel my decision to investigate “The Dusek Story” in more detail. This account, which is primarily about his post-STIC exploits in the ring, is intended both to alert the “ex-internee community” to the fact of his imprisonment, and more generally to attempt to rescue from obscurity the post-internment record of one of the thousands of WWII civilian guests of the Nipponese — plus (last and certainly least) in so doing, possibly to stir the interest of any fans of professional wrestling who may yet be lurking somewhere in the audience.