Monday, December 20, 2021

Little Saint Nick

Started off the morning with Cranberry Orange Pancakes for breakfast and Ernest Saves Christmas. Ernest P. Worrell (Jim Varney) is a taxi driver in Orlando, Florida who picks up a very unusual passenger - a man who claims to be Santa Claus (Douglas Seale). Santa's in Orlando to choose former kid's show host Joe Carruthers (Oliver Clark) as his replacement. Santa's been doing his job for far too long. If someone doesn't replace him by Christmas Eve, Christmas will lose its magic. 

Joe, however, already has a job offer from a sleazy movie producer (George Kaplan) to do a holiday slasher flick. Ernest has also picked up Harmony Starr (Noelle Parker), a teen runaway who lies constantly to everyone around her. Ernest and Harmony first rescue Santa from jail. Even after that, Santa has to convince Joe and Harmony that he's the real deal, and Ernest needs to drive the reindeer from the airport with the help of two sarcastic elves.

This is an old childhood favorite. We watched this a lot around the holidays in the late 80's-early 90's. Seale was my ideal Santa Claus for over a decade. 

Headed off to work shortly after the movie ended. Work was off-and-on busy. I suspect the only reason we had long lines was someone called out. Otherwise, I spent the afternoon shelving candy. No major problems. It didn't start really getting busy again until I was almost on my way out.

I heard Jodie talking on the phone when I got home. She wants me out in two weeks, or she's going to formally evict me and put it on my record. I wish she'd be realistic. I can't be out in two weeks. That's New Year's Day! There won't be anyone to move me, even if I could find a place. I'm so tired of all of this. I should have found a place in June. Jodie should have made me sign a real lease and decided if I'm an actual tenant or not. I never had a real lease. I just handed her a check. Nothing was ever formal or written out. All three of us should have talked all this over back in the summer, when Rose was cleaning the pool for Jodie, instead of letting it get this far. 

Rose called me at work. I got back to her and told her what Jodie said. She told me we'll deal with it after she comes back from Maine. Now I'm really glad I told Rose I'd cat-sit at her house this week. She's going to pick up my things early tomorrow morning, then drop me off at work. I'll take Uber back here for my bike later.

Wasn't in the mood for writing after that. Good thing one of my favorite Match Game '74 episodes was on. Charles imitated newscaster Walter Cronkite as he slowly revealed his Head-to-Head answer to a nervous Janet Finn. His answer would make her the show's all-time champ at that point...and made the others run up and try to throttle him for taking so long!

Had leftovers for dinner while watching more Match Game '74. Too bad Janet was defeated in the next episode by an Italian woman who claimed to speak at least four or more languages. Janet was a real doll, one of my favorite contestants. Richard Dawson had less luck with the Italian lady's answer to "Remember __." 

Started packing for spending the week at Rose's while Match Game PM was on. Bob Barker was absolutely thrilled when a question mentioned his first game show Truth and Consequences, and Eva Gabor called him a sex symbol. Richard did much better with the Head-to-Head for "__ It Away."

Finished the night online after a shower with the original 1947 Miracle On 34th Street, another movie about believing in Santa. We head north from Orlando to chilly New York City in time for the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Doris Walker (Maureen O'Hara) is delighted to find the perfect Santa replacement in Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) when the original Santa gets drunk before the parade starts. He's so popular, they use him in Macy's store. Trouble is, he thinks he really is Santa. This worries Doris a great deal. She's teaching her daughter Susan (Natalie Wood) to not believe in myths and fairy tales, Santa included. When Santa's put on trial for lunacy and is defended by kindly lawyer Fred Gailey (John Payne), Doris and Susan...and all of New York...learn a lesson in faith, hope, and what Christmas really stands for.

Another favorite of mine. Gwenn does so well in the role and has such wonderful chemistry with Wood he won a Supporting Actor Oscar, and Payne is far more at ease here than he ever was in any of his musicals. I'm also a big fan of the wonderful supporting cast that includes Gene Lockhart as the judge in charge of the trial, William Frawley as his advisor, and Jerome Cowan as the lawyer opposite Gailey in the case. Their cynicism adds a welcome hint of acid that keeps the film from getting too sugary. 

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