Ernest Saves Christmas (film) Santa Claus travels to Orlando to find a successor, a sometime actor and puppeteer, Joe. On the way to find Joe, Santa meets bumbling cab driver, Ernest, and by mistake leaves his sack in the cab. Ernest and a runaway girl, Pamela, try to help Santa. Pamela, who had attempted to steal the sack, returns it, and Ernest, after many mishaps, manages to deliver Santa’s sleigh and reindeer from the airport, just in time for Joe to take over on Christmas Eve. Released on November 11, 1988. Directed by John Cherry. A Touchstone film. 90 min. Stars Jim Varney (Ernest P. Worrell), Douglas Seale (Santa), Oliver Clark (Joe Carruthers), Noëlle Parker (Pamela Trenton/Harmony Star). Filmed at Disney-MGM Studios and on location in Orlando, Florida, and Nashville, Tennessee. Released on video in 1989.