By Daniel Curtin
Hometown Weekly Reporter
At the Sherborn Community Center, young kids and parents alike were laughing at a comedy routine involving balloons, dancing, and a 1980s twist. Children on the second floor of the Community Center watched Jungle Jim entertain with a wide array of different activities, including magic tricks and a massive, six-foot balloon.
Jim Manning, better known by his stage name, “Jungle Jim,” has been a full-time entertainer for 12 years. He has performed for children in libraries all over the country, including Hawaii, and his grand hope is to perform in a library in every state.
“It was fantastic,” said Jennifer Chapman, who was in attendance with her two children and was having almost just as much fun as they were. “My daughter was jumping up and down, she was so excited. [Jungle Jim] was wonderful for all ages - my ten month old was riveted and the grown ups liked it, too.”
When kids in attendance weren’t watching Jungle Jim entertain, they were having fun walking like an Egyptian, doing the “zombie walk” from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” and running in slow motion like actors from Vangelis’ “Chariots of Fire” music video.
Libraries have been a special place for Manning for a long time.
“When I was a child, I was really shy, believe it or not,” said Manning. “But I spent most of [my] summers in the library. So when I started performing in libraries, it was a natural connection.”
Manning performed in the Community Center because construction continues on the Sherborn Library, which is expected to be ready for the public in the fall.
“We always support the Sherborn Library. It’s very entertaining for the kids, but even more so for the adults,” said Sarah Hill, who was in attendance. “I hope that with the new library coming, more people come out and attend, because they really host some great events like this.”
The grand finale of the show involved Jungle Jim fitting his whole body in a super-sized, six-foot balloon. The stunt had kids in attendance bursting at the seams with laughter.
“Whatever the mind can imagine,” Manning said with a smile, “the balloon can achieve.”