Ernest Saves Christmas is a Christmas comedy film directed by John Cherry and released by Touchstone Pictures in 1988. It is the third theatrical film starring Jim Varney as his commercial spokesman character, Ernest P. Worrell. It was filmed mostly in Central Florida and in Nashville around May 1988.
A man who claims to be Santa Claus arrives at the Orlando International Airport. Ernest P. Worrell is working as a taxi driver. He later picks up Santa Claus, who tells him that he is on his way to inform a local personality named Joe Curruthers that he has been chosen to be the new Santa Claus. Joe hosts a children's program in the Orlando area, similar to Mister Roger's Neighborhood, with emphasis on manners and integrity with the catchphrase "They never get old. They always stay new. Those three little words, 'Please' and 'Thank You'."
While they are driving, a runaway teenage girl who says she is named Harmony Starr joins Ernest and Santa in the cab. When they get to their destination, Santa possesses no legal currency (only play money), so in his giving Christmas spirit, Ernest lets him ride for free. The decision gets him fired. Back at the taxi garage, he discovers that Santa left his magic sack behind in the cab's trunk, and he begins a quest to find the old man and return it to him.
Santa arrives at the Orlando Children's Museum to talk to Joe, but is interrupted and rebuffed by his agent, Marty Brock. He misunderstands Santa's name, thinking he said "Mr. Santos," and continues to call him by that name, even when he tells him his real name. He begins to worry as he then discovers he lost his sack, and becomes more discouraged as he realizes he is becoming forgetful in his old age (he's 151 years old, indicating he was born in 1837). Joe does not believe Santa's story and Marty has him arrested. Meanwhile, Ernest goes over to his neighbor Vern's house, to put up a Christmas tree. He poses as Astor Clement, an employee of the governor and Harmony as the governor's niece, and the two help Santa escape from jail by convincing the police chief that believing that he is Santa Claus is "infectious insanity" and he must be taken to solitary confinement. Ernest disguises himself as an Apopka snake rancher (Lloyd Worrell from Knowhutimean? Hey Vern, It's My Family Album) who sneaks Santa into a movie studio and speaks to a security guard about delivering the snakes to people who direct horror films. Meanwhile, Marty presses Joe to quit his children's job, shave his beard, and instead land a part in a horror film titled Christmas Slay a movie about an alien which terrorizes a bunch of children on Christmas Eve which offends Santa so deeply he punches the director in the eye.
Santa tracks down Joe at his home, but he finally tells him, "Thanks...no thanks." Later on, however, he is overcome by conscience when the director wants him to use foul language, which he refuses to say in front of the kids on the set.
Ernest and Harmony discover the magic power of Santa's sack, and immediately Harmony starts to abuse it. She steals it, and attempts to run away yet again. On Christmas Eve, however, her conscience prevails, and she rushes back to find Ernest and Santa and return it.
Eventually, Joe hunts down Santa on Christmas Eve and accepts the job. For the first year, however, Ernest gets to drive the sleigh. The film ends with, "Merry Christmas To All And To All A Good Night," followed by a sleigh dash that spells, KnowWhatIMean?, one of Ernest's catchphrases.
Home video releases
|Jim Varney||Ernest P. Worrell|
The Snake Guy
|Oliver Clark||Joe Carruthers|
|Billie Bird||Mary Morrissey|
|Key Howard||Immigration Agent|
|Beecher Martin||Agent Skippy|
|Barry Brazell||Cab Passenger|
|George Kaplan||Mr. Dillis|
|Joe Candelora||Arresting Officer|
|Danny Dillon||Booking Officer|
|Antonio Fabrizzio||Mean-Looking Man|
|Bob Norris||Police Chief Spenks|
|Carmen Alexander||Police Officer|
|Cyndi Vicino||Make-up Artist|
|Tom Nowicki||Crew Member|
|Michael Smith||Studio Guard|
|Jesse Stone||Elderly Man|
|Paul Darby||Ticket Agent|
|Cynthia Ergenbright||Museum Tourist|
|Cindy Haroutunian||Air Traffic Controller|
- Ernest Saves Christmas at the Internet Movie Database
- Ernest Saves Christmas at Rotten Tomatoes
- Ernest Saves Christmas at TV Tropes
- Ernest Saves Christmas at RetroJunk.com
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