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(MEL Magazine)   How Jim Varney turned an advertising character into a lasting American icon   ( melmagazine.com) divider line
    More: Spiffy, Jim Varney, Ernest P. Worrell  
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2650 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 15 Mar 2017 at 7:38 PM (22 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2017-03-15 06:41:26 PM  

flatcoat: Know what I mean, Vern?   - DNRTFA


I was gonna post exactly this
 
2017-03-15 06:42:24 PM  
Jeff Foxworthy stole his shtick.
 
2017-03-15 06:43:24 PM  

ChrisDe: Jeff Foxworthy stole his shtick.


Racist
 
2017-03-15 06:44:23 PM  
I loved his commercials back in the day.
 
2017-03-15 06:51:53 PM  

Sin_City_Superhero: I loved his commercials back in the day.


It got a little old once they started turning the character into movies, but the commercials were a blast. And the first movie was fun...
 
2017-03-15 07:20:23 PM  
Some comedy show needs to bring Joe Isuzu back as Trump's press secretary.
encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com
 
2017-03-15 07:32:17 PM  
If he'd lived, I bet he would have gotten a breakout indie movie role in the 2000s... probably a horror film.
 
2017-03-15 07:35:41 PM  
Even advertising scholars seem less than enthused about his legacy. When I asked Jeff Bresmer, the executive creative director of the Advertising Icon Museum in Kansas City if he believed the Ernest character was an advertising legend-after all, what other commercial character creation has gone on to build a successful movie career?-he balked.

"Ernest wasn't iconic to me because you don't really connect him to a brand. He was more of a type-funny redneck-who was in a fairly long running series of commercials. They developed the character in commercials and then successfully took it to a B movie career. I wasn't a big fan... but plenty of people were."


[ShooterMcGavinYoureFired.gif]

Ernest is (was) Cerritos Auto Square to me.  He helped make some lowly auto mall in the southeastern corner of LA County the top auto mall in the LA basin(with claims they're the largest in the world, with dozens of dealerships).  After Varney died, they replaced him with cartoon versions of Ernest, and, eventually, with Super Dave (who kind of has the reverse career).  In LA, Ernest was Cerritos Auto Square.  If you knew Ernest, you knew where to buy cars.  He was plastered all over TV and billboards.  Talk about brand identity.  I imagine it's the same way with whatever he was pitching in other local markets.

As far as Varney himself, he was wildly talented and chose his niche and owned it.  As I became an adult and saw where he had come from, what he had done, and the level of effort and love he put into his work, I grew to respect him tremendously.  And he did Buddy Ebsen proud with his Jed.

/Ernest Goes to Camp, Ernest Goes to Jail, and Ernest Scared Stupid will always have a place in my heart and I will force my goddamned children to watch those great pieces of art regardless of whether they want to or not
 
2017-03-15 07:38:23 PM  

Mikey1969: Sin_City_Superhero: I loved his commercials back in the day.

It got a little old once they started turning the character into movies, but the commercials were a blast. And the first movie was fun...


Huh. I didn't realize the commercials came first.
 
2017-03-15 07:43:09 PM  
He was really a good pitch man for a lot of stuff. There is a compilation of commercials he made, out
there somewhere. He sold everything from milk to natural gas.  Someone that left us too soon..
 
2017-03-15 07:52:29 PM  

Mikey1969: Sin_City_Superhero: I loved his commercials back in the day.

It got a little old once they started turning the character into movies, but the commercials were a blast. And the first movie was fun...


His Saturday a.m. TV show was fun, too.  Varney was hard not to like; goofy face, self-deprecating, creative - like a friendly mutt that won't leave until you pet and play with him.
 
2017-03-15 07:58:13 PM  
lasting?  icon?
 
2017-03-15 08:04:45 PM  

Mr. Shabooboo: He was really a good pitch man for a lot of stuff. There is a compilation of commercials he made, out
there somewhere. He sold everything from milk to natural gas.  Someone that left us too soon..


Purity Sweet Acidophilus milk.

It's in the solid yellow jugs.

 
2017-03-15 08:12:01 PM  
So annoying ear worm is now analogous to American icon? Huh?
 
2017-03-15 08:12:30 PM  
I miss Jim.
 
2017-03-15 08:12:32 PM  

ChrisDe: Jeff Foxworthy stole his shtick.


I like Foxworthy. He was just a garden variety IT guy at IBM who found a shtick that made him millions.
 
2017-03-15 08:13:00 PM  
A buddy of mine in High School wore his "Ernest Goes to Camp" vhs out.
 
2017-03-15 08:13:31 PM  
"and a twangy lilt that implied a rural background"


What lovely way to put it.

/Couple of friends occasionly share this lady's writings on Facebook
/I like her
 
2017-03-15 08:14:03 PM  
Ernest was funny, but for whatever reason I never liked him as much as the Micro Machines guy.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Moschitta_Jr.
 
2017-03-15 08:18:05 PM  
He wore thin on me, but glad to see that my wife's home town was mentioned in the article.
 
2017-03-15 08:21:19 PM  
Little-known fact---he also did some stand-up that was rather raunchy. Hilarious stuff.

CSB---My BiLs name is Vern. College Psych professor (now retired). Had KWIMV for his vanity license plate and would give students extra points on their finals if they knew what it meant.
 
2017-03-15 08:33:58 PM  
Shakespearean trained actor.
 
2017-03-15 08:44:34 PM  

Billy Liar: Mikey1969: Sin_City_Superhero: I loved his commercials back in the day.

His Saturday a.m. TV show was fun, too.  Varney was hard not to like; goofy face, self-deprecating, creative - like a friendly mutt that won't leave until you pet and play with him.



Yes!!! His Sat morning show followed PeeWee's Playhouse.  The iguana killed me.
What an amazing, farked up, funny hr.
Especially if you and your roommates were wake-and-baking on Grady Ave in Athens GA in 1988.

I still watch the show DVDs occasionally.
 
2017-03-15 08:47:23 PM  
Loves his commercials. Water skiing from a pool was one I remember.

Ernest goes to Camp was huge for me and I still love it. I used to mimic his "Ewww" so well my uncle would ask me to show off for girlfriends and friends. And he would try too.

Sad day when he passed. I may have to fire up an Ernest movie.
 
2017-03-15 08:50:21 PM  
Ernest Goes to Camp was awesome. Turtle paratroopers, exploding toilets and Eggs Erroneous... It's like the diary of a madman and it's amazing.
 
2017-03-15 08:55:26 PM  
CBO:

Jim Varney lived in the same town I did growing up (White House TN).  I sometimes would see him shopping at the Piggly Wiggly (you know, back when those existed).  My mom wouldn't let us say anything, though.

/CBO

I do miss his characters, though, they were a big part of my childhood.
 
2017-03-15 08:56:27 PM  

bhcompy: Even advertising scholars seem less than enthused about his legacy. When I asked Jeff Bresmer, the executive creative director of the Advertising Icon Museum in Kansas City if he believed the Ernest character was an advertising legend-after all, what other commercial character creation has gone on to build a successful movie career?-he balked.

"Ernest wasn't iconic to me because you don't really connect him to a brand. He was more of a type-funny redneck-who was in a fairly long running series of commercials. They developed the character in commercials and then successfully took it to a B movie career. I wasn't a big fan... but plenty of people were."

[ShooterMcGavinYoureFired.gif]

Ernest is (was) Cerritos Auto Square to me.  He helped make some lowly auto mall in the southeastern corner of LA County the top auto mall in the LA basin(with claims they're the largest in the world, with dozens of dealerships).  After Varney died, they replaced him with cartoon versions of Ernest, and, eventually, with Super Dave (who kind of has the reverse career).  In LA, Ernest was Cerritos Auto Square.  If you knew Ernest, you knew where to buy cars.  He was plastered all over TV and billboards.  Talk about brand identity.  I imagine it's the same way with whatever he was pitching in other local markets.

As far as Varney himself, he was wildly talented and chose his niche and owned it.  As I became an adult and saw where he had come from, what he had done, and the level of effort and love he put into his work, I grew to respect him tremendously.  And he did Buddy Ebsen proud with his Jed.

/Ernest Goes to Camp, Ernest Goes to Jail, and Ernest Scared Stupid will always have a place in my heart and I will force my goddamned children to watch those great pieces of art regardless of whether they want to or not


How could you not include "Ernest Saves Christmas?"
 
2017-03-15 08:57:22 PM  

FirstNationalBastard: If he'd lived, I bet he would have gotten a breakout indie movie role in the 2000s... probably a horror film.


Doubtful. He was pretty big on keeping the family-friendly image.
 
2017-03-15 08:58:05 PM  

Fingerware Error: Some comedy show needs to bring Joe Isuzu back as Trump's press secretary.
[encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com image 262x192]


How about to try to sell microwaves that spy on you?
 
2017-03-15 09:02:17 PM  

kenshin5435: Fingerware Error: Some comedy show needs to bring Joe Isuzu back as Trump's press secretary.
[encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com image 262x192]

How about to try to sell microwaves that spy on you?


That'll work.
 
2017-03-15 09:05:05 PM  

stoli n coke: FirstNationalBastard: If he'd lived, I bet he would have gotten a breakout indie movie role in the 2000s... probably a horror film.

Doubtful. He was pretty big on keeping the family-friendly image.


If I could find his standup routine online I could change your mind. Haven't searched for several years. Maybe it's out there now.
 
2017-03-15 09:06:06 PM  

dv-ous: Ernest was funny, but for whatever reason I never liked him as much as the Micro Machines guy.

[YouTube video]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Moschitta_Jr.


Mother of God...  Totally forgot about that guy, thanks!  Its hard to believe his mouth could keep up with his brain like that.  I'm a speed reader and if I could verbally keep up with what I was reading it'd be that fast but I think my tongue would catch fire.
 
2017-03-15 09:23:41 PM  

stoli n coke: FirstNationalBastard: If he'd lived, I bet he would have gotten a breakout indie movie role in the 2000s... probably a horror film.

Doubtful. He was pretty big on keeping the family-friendly image.


Maybe that was a tip to Ernest Saves Christmas when future santa was asked to do a horror movie.
 
2017-03-15 09:28:45 PM  

John Buck 41: stoli n coke: FirstNationalBastard: If he'd lived, I bet he would have gotten a breakout indie movie role in the 2000s... probably a horror film.

Doubtful. He was pretty big on keeping the family-friendly image.

If I could find his standup routine online I could change your mind. Haven't searched for several years. Maybe it's out there now.


Telling dirty jokes at the Comedy Store, in front of 100 or so people all over 21, is a little more low-profile than movies and TV that kids might see. Some performers are very guarded on how they're presented to mass audiences.

From what I've heard, Jay Leno is a surprisingly raunchy standup when he does sets at his local comedy clubs, but he made sure it didn't bleed over into the persona he cultivated on TV.
 
2017-03-15 09:31:15 PM  

bhcompy: Even advertising scholars seem less than enthused about his legacy. When I asked Jeff Bresmer, the executive creative director of the Advertising Icon Museum in Kansas City if he believed the Ernest character was an advertising legend-after all, what other commercial character creation has gone on to build a successful movie career?-he balked.

"Ernest wasn't iconic to me because you don't really connect him to a brand. He was more of a type-funny redneck-who was in a fairly long running series of commercials. They developed the character in commercials and then successfully took it to a B movie career. I wasn't a big fan... but plenty of people were."

[ShooterMcGavinYoureFired.gif]

Ernest is (was) Cerritos Auto Square to me.  He helped make some lowly auto mall in the southeastern corner of LA County the top auto mall in the LA basin(with claims they're the largest in the world, with dozens of dealerships).  After Varney died, they replaced him with cartoon versions of Ernest, and, eventually, with Super Dave (who kind of has the reverse career).  In LA, Ernest was Cerritos Auto Square.  If you knew Ernest, you knew where to buy cars.  He was plastered all over TV and billboards.  Talk about brand identity.  I imagine it's the same way with whatever he was pitching in other local markets.

As far as Varney himself, he was wildly talented and chose his niche and owned it.  As I became an adult and saw where he had come from, what he had done, and the level of effort and love he put into his work, I grew to respect him tremendously.  And he did Buddy Ebsen proud with his Jed.

/Ernest Goes to Camp, Ernest Goes to Jail, and Ernest Scared Stupid will always have a place in my heart and I will force my goddamned children to watch those great pieces of art regardless of whether they want to or not


Just like Rosanne was.... Vons? Ralph's? I forget now, but that character was all over SoCal back in the day. Good on both of 'em for turning a hook into a good living.

/knowwhutimean?
 
2017-03-15 09:35:25 PM  
My god, in the movie where he goes to jail, when he was in court as a juror i think, he broke his pen and spilled ink on his face, I larfed my arse off, my girlfriend at the time just looked at me and shook her head, I just found it tremendously funny, but then I might be dense.
 
2017-03-15 09:38:12 PM  

bborchar: CBO:

Jim Varney lived in the same town I did growing up (White House TN).  I sometimes would see him shopping at the Piggly Wiggly (you know, back when those existed).  My mom wouldn't let us say anything, though.

/CBO

I do miss his characters, though, they were a big part of my childhood.


FYI - Piggly Wigglys are still all over Nashville. Heck I was just at one a couple of weeks ago.

I miss seeing him on tv too. First discovered him doing Mello Yello commercials in the 80's.
 
2017-03-15 09:46:38 PM  
Not sure where he started, but I remember Beach Bend Park commercials and Convenient Food Mart commercials from around 1980 or so.
 
2017-03-15 09:50:56 PM  
"Eat, greaseball!"

"But I didn't order greaseball!"
 
2017-03-15 09:51:37 PM  

weirdneighbour: My god, in the movie where he goes to jail, when he was in court as a juror i think, he broke his pen and spilled ink on his face, I larfed my arse off, my girlfriend at the time just looked at me and shook her head, I just found it tremendously funny, but then I might be dense.


img.fark.net
That is literally what the movie is called.
Loved me some Earnest as a kid.
 
2017-03-15 09:59:16 PM  
 
2017-03-15 10:12:45 PM  
His latest movie is a hit with the zombie crowd...

writersgallery.com
/Yes, I am not above using ancient Fark photoshops
 
2017-03-15 10:14:40 PM  

LesserEvil: His latest movie is a hit with the zombie crowd...

[writersgallery.com image 473x309]
/Yes, I am not above using ancient Fark photoshops


Yes, that's from 2002:

writersgallery.com
(Actually predates my current Fark login, for reasons lost to time)
 
2017-03-15 10:27:14 PM  
Probably his greatest (and least known) film. Loved it as a kid, still holds up today.

 
2017-03-15 10:42:38 PM  
For Lexingtonians, met him in Charlie Browns a million years ago. Nice guy.
 
2017-03-15 10:46:51 PM  
Jim Varney is an American icon.
 
2017-03-15 10:53:51 PM  
When I found out my sister-in-law had never heard of Ernest, I described him to her as "Tyler Perry for white people". (She's Asian.)
 
2017-03-16 12:02:03 AM  

bhcompy: /Ernest Goes to Camp, Ernest Goes to Jail, and Ernest Scared Stupid will always have a place in my heart and I will force my goddamned children to watch those great pieces of art regardless of whether they want to or not


My kids have watched those and Ernest Saves Christmas, and like me, they hate Scared Stupid.  I believe they all went direct-to-video after that one.
 
2017-03-16 01:20:43 AM  
Miak?
 
2017-03-16 01:31:16 AM  
No mention of this?
image.tmdb.org
 
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