The Story


“And what *is* an Ernest, you may ask? A man with a past both rich in history and tradition.”

Through nine feature films, an Emmy-award-winning TV show, and thousands of television commercials, Ernest P. Worrell became a beloved comedy icon. Originally created as an advertising character, Ernest transcended these humble beginnings to become an unexpected hit—given life through the creativity of an indispensable team of artists, as well as through the unparalleled talent of actor Jim Varney.

Today, two decades after Varney’s death, both Ernest and Jim seem to endure largely as pop culture footnotes; or worse, as easy punchlines. But there’s more to Ernest than that, and this documentary film will guide viewers through the entire Ernest epoch to examine the shelf life of a phenomenon.

Using archival footage, cast and crew interviews, and never-before-seen material, we will seek to answer the questions: “Who was Ernest, who was Jim Varney, how did they relate, and why do they both mean so much to people?”