That was July 1953. Then followed a real life drama.
Having survived flying Spitfires in World War 2, Jim was thrust into the centre of the brief but spectacular 1950's Australian square dancing boom - an entertainment boom that had the whole of Australia tapping its feet. At that time, Jim was one of Australia's highest paid entertainers, calling for thousands of dancers, night after night in Melbourne and Adelaide's largest Ballrooms, beamed by radio into homes throughout the nation - ironically, despite acute stage fright.
At the height of his entertainment fame, aged 36, Jim contracted polio. As he lay, gasping for each breath, in an iron-lung life support system, Jim's career was over, and the Australian square dancing boom lost a figurehead, and the momentum died.
Doctors advised Jim he would live for 5 to 10 years, and gave him little hope of escaping the iron-lung. Jim's fight, to defy this medical opinion, and go on to live a long, productive, and influential life - despite significant paralysis - is an inspiring story, rich in its clues on how we can all find great happiness by rebounding from our own life struggles. Jim passed away peacefully on December 30th, 2008 - Aged 90.
So how did he bounce back?
Information on Jim's inspiring life is available in the tab titled JIM'S STORY. Historical audio, newspaper and magazine clippings help illustrate the public highs and lows of Jim's life. His life story is told in two books; his autobiography "The Magic of Life!" (2006), and a life education book titled "Bouncing Back Wiuth CHANGES" (2010) written by psychologist Tony Vickers-Willis - both are available to be downloaded.
In the AUSTRALIAN SQUARE DANCING tab we are builidng an archive of the 1950s Australian square dancing boom. It includes music, news clippings and photos. Some of Jim's best recordings and best selling instruction books can be purchased, and this section also provides square dance teaching resources so you too can learn to square dance - absolutely FREE. Its easy, and great fun.
As I'm sure you can imagine, surviving polio had a profound effect on Jim's thinking - and a quality of life crusader was born. Thousands have since benefited from his insights, which he passed on in books, newspaper articles, and recordings, and interviews on national television and radio. His best seller book, "Are You (Really) Fun To Live With?", and other information resources are available as free downloads in the QUALITY OF LIFE tab of this site.
We trust you enjoy your visit to Jim's site and I hope it provides you with a little inspiration too.
FREE AustralianSquare Dance Story
story about the 1950's Melbourne & Adelaide square dancing BOOM!
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