"The Magic of Life" is Jim's autobiography - the story of an Australian 1950's entertainer who contracted the life threatening polio virus when at the height of his entertainment popularity. This is the complete story of his fight to survive - a story that will inspire, but also one that reveals helpful clues on how to survive the challenges that life throws at each and everyone of us as we seek quality in our lives.
Jim reveals his life - starting life as an immigrant, becoming a young journalist, to flying Spitfires in WW2; then becoming a household name as Australia's BOOM 1950's Square Dance caller; to his imprisonment in an iron lung and his fight to live; to entertaining children with puppets on early Australian television; then, authoring a 'relationship" best seller; to making a film about nudists, including 250 people square dancing in the nude; and, then passing a University course......... when aged 82.
ESCAPE FROM THE IRON LUNG could have been the title of Jim's book. It surprisingly opens by taking us to Kenya, and the filming of little girls held down by their 'loved ones' to be mutilated for life. In his personal escape to life and love story, Jim equates this clitoral mutilation with the results of what he calls 'psychological circumcision', going on almost unnoticed and still happening to the young in our own society.
Here are some quotes from Jim's 'Magic':
one thing giving young people information; it's another thing to pass
on an attitude.
'Magic of Life' (Pdf) can be viewed or downloaded by clicking on the book's cover above.
Included below are links to a couple of other multi-media resources on Jim's life. The first is a 1996 interview with radio 3LO personality, Doug Aiton (1996) - click the arrow to play::
Jim's comments on his disabilities from polio are worth repeating:
Aiton: How do you feel about being 78?
Aiton: Has your disability impaired your enjoyment of life a great deal?
Aiton: And you don't ever get angry about the fact that polio so cruelly
Very Lucky? Indeed! But Jim and those close to him know he wasn't alone - he could not have achieved what he did without the love and care of his life long partner and wife, Beth - the 'Number One' Lady in Jim's Square Dance Exhibition Set, and herself the focus of public admiration for her courage, determination and devotion in nursing Jim through polio whilst also coping with their three children's medical problems, when aged only in her late twenties. In 1955, The Argus newspaper awarded Beth "Mrs. Housewife of the Year", whilst the magazine Woman's Day and Home wrote a lead article titled "The Testing of Beth Vickers-Willis" (click to open Pdf of this article).
Later in life, Jim and Beth appeared together on the George Negus Tonight Show (2002) sharing their experiences of moving into a retirement village.
Here are some key headlines of Jim's amazing life story:
Mill Hill, England -16th July, 1918
More on Jim's Story:
Jim's Puppet Pantomime
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