GREAT FALLS, Mont. (Wireless Flash) – Actor Wilford Brimley, best known as the Quaker Oats pitchman, had to cancel his upcoming performances with a community symphony and choir in Great Falls, Montana, because he is ill with pneumonia. The 67-year-old Brimley has been ill for several days.

LOS ANGELES – Beau Bridges is set to join CBS’s drama The Agency, playing the part of the Director of the CIA as soon as early 2002. He will replace Ronny Cox, whose character will be removed on an episode scheduled for Dec. 20.

McMINNVILLE, Tenn. – A scary bedroom bogeyman turned out to be real for a toddler in Tennessee recently. The two-year-old complained of seeing “a monster” in her room, and when her mother went to check, she found a burglar lurking behind the curtains. Luckily, the thief ran off as soon as mommy came in.

BRADFORD, England – Santa is a persona non grata at one Christmas display in England. The holiday grotto at the Bradford Industrial Museum has replaced the jolly old elf with characters from Harry Potter, who hand out sweets shaped like toads, snakes and spiders.

FOND DU LAC, Wis. – Talk about a lucky stiff: A funeral home employee in Wisconsin narrowly escaped death when an SUV plowed into the very spot her desk had been placed for the past 15 years. Linda Bothe moved her desk to the opposite side of the office a week before and says “I think God was looking out for me.”

STONECLOUGH, England – Patrons have to boogie one at a time in a pub in Stoneclough, England. The bar claims to have the world’s smallest dance floor at just three square feet.

NEW YORK – If the Christmas presents you receive this year look awfully familiar, don’t be surprised. A new survey by United Milage Plus and Visa shows 53 percent of Americans plan to “re-gift” this year.

WARSAW, Poland – Think HMOs are bad? Well, 53 percent of folks in Poland say they’ve had to bribe doctors to get better medical treatment, according to a poll by the CBOS public opinion research center.

VIENNA – A female snowboarder from Vienna, Austria, who has been unable to secure a sponsor, now says her only option is to compete in only her bra and panties. Skivvy-wearing snowboarder Sabrina Blassnig says she will appear in her undies this weekend at a contest in Laax, Switzerland.

CINCINNATI, Ohio – The phrase, ‘Tis better to give than receive,’ is apparently true when it comes to Christmas stocking stuffers. According to a survey by the Crest SpinBrush, 73 percent of Americans would rather give someone a stocking stuffer at Christmas than receive one.