ARIZONA MAN FINDS MAGIC MOMENTS IN TV SHOW ON UNCLE HOUDINI
PHOENIX (AP) — Growing up, George Hardeen never thought too much about being related to arguably the most famous magician of all time. But at 66, the Arizona man is delving into the history of his great-uncle Harry Houdini in a new series on the Science Channel. “Houdini’s Last Secrets” begins airing Jan. 6. It follows Hardeen as he and escape artist Lee Terbosic explore the engineering behind some of Houdini’s most legendary feats from the early 20th century. Each of the four episodes focuses on a different stunt, including the water torture cell, in which Houdini was lowered upside down into a water tank with his feet locked in stocks. Hardeen’s grandfather, Theo Hardeen, was Houdini’s younger brother. Hardeen says the show has given him insight into the man behind the magician.
GOV. JERRY BROWN SWAN SONG
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown is preparing to leave office after a record four terms and nearly five decades on the political scene. The son of former Gov. Pat Brown first became governor at 36 and leaves at 80. He ran unsuccessfully for president three times and used his spotlight leading the nation’s most populous state to call for swifter global action on climate change. He’s credited with helping turn around the state’s finances after returning to office in 2011. It was a matter of life and death in 2015 when California Gov. Jerry Brown pondered an assisted suicide bill granting terminally ill people the right to choose when they die. After much speculation, Brown signed the measure, a victory for “death with dignity” advocates Now 80, he’s still an idealist but one who during the last eight years championed fiscal moderation, a position that sometimes put him at odds with fellow Democrats who wanted more social program spending. Yet Brown’s popularity surged as he took the state from a deep budget deficit when he entered office to a surplus and $14.5 billion socked away in a rainy day fund.
ARIANA GRANDE BOWS OUT
NEW YORK (AP) — Ariana Grande has canceled a Las Vegas performance days before New Year’s Eve “due to unforeseeable health reasons.” Grande was originally scheduled to perform at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Saturday. The hotel said Friday in a statement to The Associated Press that the pop star will not perform. The hotel said guests can receive refunds at their point of purchase. Grande has had a busy year: Her song “Thank U, Next” is spending its sixth week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, she recently earned two Grammy nominations and was named woman of the year by Billboard. Her year also included the end of her relationship with comedian-actor Pete Davidson and the death of her former boyfriend, the rapper Mac Miller.