Now over 10 years after actor Jim Varney‘s passing, soon to be 11 this coming February, what better way to celebrate the man’s lifetime achievement than rereleasing the stories of his most prolific character, Ernest P. Worrell, in one comprehensive compilation. Unfortunately, as of now, no such box set is on the market. Though many Ernest favorites are still available for purchase, mostly online, as time has pushed demand back relative to newer children’s releases, DVDs are increasingly hard to come by.A re-released commemorative box set would help to ensure Varney’s timeless character continues on for another generation, as many adults who are now beginning to have children once enjoyed the antics of Ernest growing up. At the very least, all nine full length Ernest films should be packaged together and available for purchase, in chronological order, Ernest Goes to Camp, Ernest Saves Christmas, Ernest Goes to Jail, Ernest Scared Stupid, Ernest Rides Again, Ernest Goes to School, Slam Dunk Ernest, Ernest Goes to Africa, and Ernest in the Army.True fans would agree, however, the movies alone don’t do the collective body of work justice. Adding more layers to the Ernest persona are 13 episodes of the television show, Hey Vern, It’s Ernest, and seemingly countless television commercials from which Ernest was born, possibly included as part of a special features disc, not to mention a complementary copy of It’s the Ernest P. Worrell Book of Knawledge, written by Jim Varney in character as Ernest P. Worrell, arguably the greatest insight on record into the mind of the hilarious hillbilly. (more…)
Ernest himself may have never struck oil or taken up karate or managed a traveling carnival, but dedicated Ernest fans have probably noticed a whole lot of characters over the years that sure look or sound a lot like Ernest. Actor Jim Varney carried the Ernest franchise for well over a decade, but during the long spanning era of Ernest success, Varney tackled a variety of other roles, resulting in ranging success. Though no character ever garnered nearly the same widespread following or longevity Varney experienced as Ernest, the B-side of his career was very productive as well. Here’s a look at a few of Varney’s most prominent performances that are in no way connected to his most popular role.
- Slinky Dog Toy Story (1995): While Varney didn’t play protagonist Woody or second lead Buzz Lightyear, Varney’s character Slinky Dog became one of the most beloved background characters the successful movie franchise has seen. Slinky Dog’s southern accent plays right into Varner’s wheelhouse as he portrays Woody’s checkers opponent, trusted ally and one of the few toys to believe Woody knocking Buzz out the window was truly an accident.
- Slinky Dog Toy Story 2 (1999): Varney reprises his role as Slinky Dog in Toy Story’s equally successful sequel. Slinky Dog remains one of the most prominently featured toys, again using his unique design to help the group out of pending trouble or danger. Slinky Dog appears in all three Toy Story films, though unfortunately Varney was not around to take part in the final film.
- Jed Clampett Beverly Hillbillies (1993): When the popular TV series transitioned to the silver screen, Varney was a natural choice for Jed Clampett due to his southern roots and undisputed success masquerading as a lovable backwoods character. (more…)
Before donning his signature denim vest and baseball cap, famously turning into the caricature of a character Ernest P. Worrell, Jim Varney was just another actor looking for his big break. Well, Varney was just another actor as far as numbers go, but when it came down to natural aptitude for acting, the ability to elicit a laugh or smile out of even the most strait-laced onlooker and the naturally endearing quality essential towards building a relationship with an audience, Varney was anything but “just another.” Taking Ernest across a wide spectrum of places a person could wind up, from camp to school to jail, Varney experienced a meteoric rise in popularity. And to think, the most successful bit of his career began as a mere TV commercial gig, but Varney’s portrayal of Ernest proved to be too iconic for a mere 30-second spot. The unexpected success Varney experienced was only a shock to those who didn’t know the man, as his talents had long been evident to those close to him. (more…)