Jim Varney was actually a rather interesting guy. He was very good at impressions and could memorize things very quickly at a young age. While some people disliked his Ernest P. Worrell commericals, they are some of the most memorable and funny ever. Think about it, how many commercials get turned into video collections?

The Ernest Movies actually started out pretty good. Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam is actually worth experiencing. It's not quite like any other Ernest movie. The next two, Ernest Goest to Camp and Ernest Saves Christmas are pretty good as well, especially for kids. Ernest Goes to Camp was defintely one of my faves as a kid. I can somewhat credit it for warping my sense of humor to the Monty Python/Airplane side of comedy. The following movies went downhill pretty quickly though.

Besides Ernest P. Worrel, Jim Varney appeared in numerous TV shows and movies. His non-Ernest acting career was actually picking up before he died of cancer. Significant roles were Jed Clampett in the Hollywood version of The Beverly Hillbillies and Slinky Dog in Toy Story. He also did a voice in an episode of the Simpsons.

Finally, I'd just like to note that Ernest was born in Lexington, KY. There aren't too many famous people from KY. You got Jim, George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Muhammed Ali and, of course, Larry Flynt. If I had to choose, I'd be proud to have Jim Varney as the model Kentuckian.

Just to add to this, he was doing anti-smoking commercials while he was still a heavy smoker, and later died of lung cancer. This is quite the tragic irony, and underscores the addictiveness of smoking.

Note that the Ernest commercials always featured him talking into the camera at some unseen person named Vern.

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