Monday, July 9, 2012

Unknown--Waverley Market Circus Edinburgh 1951


Philip Astley said...

This is Jan Doksansky, born October 14th 1901 of Czech origin. This picture is of his own group of four male lions in the winter of '52/53. He was a very good all round trainer, particularly with horses and elephants. However, we know him best for his work with lions and polar bears. He worked exclusively for Chapman's Circus in the UK during the whole time they were in existence. Michael Howes, our general manager's grandfather, Captain Sydney Howes, was taught by Jan. He was greatly respected and died of cancer in 1958. His lions were sold to Robert Brothers' Circus and he also had a chimp act that he worked for the last three years of his life. I have his ring cage here and I knew his wife fairly well. He also worked in 1929 for the Detroit Zoo, training an elephant act.

Jim Clubb

Wade G. Burck said...

I forgot to thank you for the information bout Mr. Doksansky. I had never heard much about him. Aw Jesus the "a" key just fell off of the key pad. That should be fun to get fixed in rural Mexico......

Be safe, Jim

Ossie said...

Hello Jim,

I found it of much interest that you knew the wife of Jan Doksansky. Being a circus historian I would have loved to have met Sylvia Cleopatra and spoken to her about her mother Sylvia Genevra Lee, nee Drescher. Sylvia Senior was well known in her day as "Bonita Child of the Plains"a crack rifle shot. Although London-born in 1881 she was billed as an American Indian, Australian, South American and from places elsewhere. Under the name of Bonita Lee she died in England in 1953 the widow of William Richard Lee the Australian-born part Chinese roughrider and whip-cracker. Actualy he was a son of Tie Lee Wor and Clara Hall. "Bonita" together with her sister Cleopatra, a snake dancer, and their father, travelled extensivly touring in Australia and New Zealand. Bonita's sister is a mystery. Extensive searches, world-wide, have failed to locate her birth, marriage or death. Likewise the girls' father "Don Carlos" (Manoel) Drescher. Sylvia Junior, died as Mrs Hobern. Arthur Hobern being her second husband.

Jim, are you able to tell me where Jan Doksansky died? I would muchappreciate this knowledge.

All the best,

Jim McJannett, Downunder.

Film & TV Commentator said...

Interested to hear about Jan Doksany. It is possible that I am related to George Bruce Chapman, who owned Chapman circus.