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Object ID XD180.001
Object Name Collage
Date 1988
Description Gold frame with cream colored mat that has a photograph and a letter in it. The top has a color movie still from movie "ERNEST SAVES CHRISTMAS" with Ernest in sleigh in front of the mythical Orlando Children's Museum. Below is letter to Sara Van Arsdel, director of the Orange County Historical Museum, from location directors of the movie, thanking her for help with the movie.
Provenance Ernest Saves Christmas is a 1988 Touchstone Pictures comedy film directed by John R. Cherry III and starring Jim Varney. It is the third film to feature the character Ernest P. Worrell, and chronicles Ernest's attempt to find a replacement for an aging Santa Claus. The movie received a PG rating from the MPAA.

A man who claims to be Santa Claus (Douglas Seale) arrives at the Orlando International Airport in Florida. Ernest P. Worrell (Jim Varney) is working as a taxi driver. Ernest later picks up Santa Claus, who tells Ernest that he is on his way to inform a local personality named Joe Curruthers (Oliver Clark) that he has been chosen to be the new Santa Claus. Carruthers 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 (Noelle Parker) 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 Ernest fired from his job. Back at the taxi garage, Ernest discovers that Santa left his magic sack behind in the cab, and Ernest 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 Joe's agent Marty Brock. Brock misunderstands Santa's name, thinking he said "Mr. Santos," and continues to call him by that name. Santa 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 Joe's agent has Santa arrested. Ernest poses as Astor Clement, a friend of the governor and helps Santa escape from jail by convincing the police chief that Santa believing that he is Santa Claus is "infectious insanity" and he must be taken to solitary confinement. 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 Joe finally tells Santa, " thanks." Later on, however, Joe is overcome by conscience when the director of the movie wants him to use foul language, which he refuses to say in front of the kids on the set.

Ernest and the girl discover the magic power of Santa's sack, and immediately the girl starts to abuse it. She steals the sack, 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 the sack.

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.

*This was the first major feature production filmed almost entirely in Orlando, Florida at the then-unfinished Disney-MGM Studios. Vern's house was actually a faƧade located on Residential Street at Disney-MGM Studios, and was part of the Backlot Tour until it was demolished in 2002.

*The remainder of the scenes were filmed in various locations in the greater Orlando area, including Orlando International Airport, Epcot Center Drive, Lake Eola, Church Street Station and Orange Avenue in Downtown Orlando, a toll booth on the Bee Line Expressway, the original Orlando Science Center which has since been replaced by a new facility (used as the "Orlando Children's Museum" in the movie), and the Orlando AMTRAK station. A small number of scenes were filmed in Nashville.
Condition Good
Print size 19.25x12.5
Condition Notes Frame separating slightly at corners, somewhat scratched, small spot near lower left of plexiglass covering.
Search Terms Movie Industry
Ernest P. Worrell