Ernest Saves Christmas
- 1 hr 35 min
When veteran actor Jim Varney portrayed a new character for a series of commercials in 1980 few knew that he had created a future piece of popular culture. The character’s name was Ernest P. Worrell and was known nationwide for his trademark catch phrase “KnoWhutImean, Vern?". Varney parlayed the success of his character into a series of movies in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The most commercial success was for the holiday feature “Ernest Saves Christmas”. “Ernest Saves Christmas” begins with Ernest working as a cab driver in Orlando, Florida. It’s December and Ernest is clearly in the Christmas spirit as he drives a cantankerous commuter to the airport. The job doesn’t go so well and he ends up fleeing security at the airport with his new fair who surprises Ernest by announcing that he is Santa Claus, himself. Santa is in Orlando to search out a replacement. He explains that Santa Claus only has enough magic to perform his duties for about 100 years before he needs to pass the job along to another person. He had been studying several possible replacements and ultimately decided on Joe Carruthers, a children’s television personality on local Orlando television. During the drive Ernest stops to rescue a young girl in distress. The girl identifies herself as Harmony Starr, a future rock star. Ernest and Santa picked her up as she was running away from a waiter after skipping out on paying her lunch tab. Ernest is thrilled to help Santa Claus find Joe and even let’s Santa skip out on his cab bill when he doesn’t have any real currency, only paper money. A funny side story takes place back at the airport. Santa Claus has had to ship his reindeer to Orlando because he was so close to the Christmas deadline. Two reoccurring characters in most of the Ernest films, Chuck and Bobby, appear as storage agents at the airport. They notice right away that the containers that contain the reindeers are no everyday shipping containers. The film continues with Ernest, Harmony and Santa Claus doing their best to convince Joe to take over the Santa Claus role. They have a dissention among their ranks and it’s up to the spirit of Christmas to solve the problems. Along the way, Varney portrays a number of his most notable characters. The finale of the film includes a wild sleigh ride with a surprise driver.