"The Importance of Being Ernest" Documentary

Created by Paganomation

A film about Jim Varney and Ernest P. Worrell. See more at

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Celebrating Jim's Birthday / IOBE Behind-the-Scenes
about 1 month ago – Sat, Jun 15, 2024 at 06:27:34 PM

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The IOBE Team Returns to Ernest Day!
about 2 months ago – Sat, Jun 01, 2024 at 03:52:54 PM

Ernest Day 2024 is a week away — Saturday, June 8th — and we will be there!

While we originally planned for our next shoot to be earlier in the Spring of 2024, there were TOO MANY new guests announced for the annual Ernest Day event at Montgomery Bell State Park... our team decided to instead return to Tennessee this week, to record more interviews in the days leading up to (and following) Ernest Day!

For more information, check out the Facebook event page or visit We'll see you next Saturday!

- David and the IOBE documentary team

Post-Production Begins!
6 months ago – Thu, Feb 01, 2024 at 09:55:25 AM

It's 2024 somehow! Here's the latest on the IOBE documentary project...

Post-Production Kick-Off

After a busy end of year, we are excited to announce that we have begun post-production on the documentary!

What does this mean, exactly?

  • We've started reviewing and transcribing the footage of each interview to piece together the story of the film
  • We still have more interviews to shoot, although how many more will depend on the success of future fundraising
  • Despite all of this, there's still a long way to go to having a completed film or a firm release date

Fan Video Specs

Starting post-production also means that we finally have the long-awaited details on the "Submit a fan video" reward tier! If you supported our Kickstarter campaign at that level, keep an eye on your email inboxes. We'll be sending a separate message soon with info on what (and how) to submit!

Notorious DeLoreans

Thanks to a particularly viral photo of Jim Varney in his DeLorean, sales of "The Importance of Being Ernest" biography book shot through the roof, cracking the top 100 in the "Actor and Entertainer Biographies" category in Amazon. In the span of a week, Justin tripled his book sales — even outselling Bono!

If you still need a copy of your own, you can order the physical version here or grab a digital copy in our BackerKit pre-order store!

Radio Interview

This Saturday, David will be discussing the IOBE documentary on "Gwatney Unplugged with Scott Romine" on Central Arkansas' 103.7FM THE BUZZ. Local listeners can tune in to hear the interview at 9 AM CT. For everyone else, it will be posted at soon after!

Coming Up

Our next documentary shoot is currently being planned for the spring. When that happens, we'll have more behind-the-scenes updates and photos to share.

As always, you can check out our FAQ for the latest answers, or message [email protected] with any questions. Thanks for your continued patience and support!

- David and the IOBE documentary team

A Kentucky Book Signing and a New York Interview
about 1 year ago – Fri, Jul 14, 2023 at 10:06:09 AM

Ahoy, Ernest P. World! Here are a couple of quick updates from the IOBE documentary team...

KENTUCKY FOR KENTUCKY'S ERNEST DAY Featuring Jim Varney biographer Justin Lloyd

Happening TOMORROW, 7/15, from 12PM to 3PM at Kentucky For Kentucky in Lexington, KY — it's a book signing with our very own Justin Lloyd! 

You can snag a copy of “The Importance of Being Ernest: The Life of Actor Jim Varney” and get it signed by Justin (who, in case you somehow missed it, is the author and also Jim Varney’s nephew)!

More info on the event here: ERNEST DAY at KY for KY FUN MALL!

Meanwhile, we picked up another interview here in NYC, where our documentary production is based! This one was with Gabe Bullard, a writer and journalist who has written extensively about nostalgia, regional identity, and (in at least one instance) Ernest P. Worrell

Gabe Bullard sits at a table with cameras in the foreground
Sitting down with Gabe Bullard.
The NYC crew (L-R): Valerie Champagne, David Pagano, Daniel Scarpati

More to come!

- David

IOBE Production Continues!
about 1 year ago – Thu, Jun 15, 2023 at 07:40:41 PM

As we celebrate what would have been Jim Varney's 74th birthday, here are the latest IOBE documentary updates...

IOBE KY Interviews

Last month, we traveled to Jim's hometown of Lexington, Kentucky, to conduct interviews with a few of his friends and family members...

Anne Lambert sits on a couch holding a copy of Justin Lloyd's book, while the IOBE crew looks on from behind camera.
The IOBE team interviews Anne Lambert (longtime friend of Jim Varney)
Julieanne Pogue (longtime friend of Jim Varney) and Justin Lloyd
Julieanne Pogue (longtime friend of Jim Varney) and Justin Lloyd
The IOBE team interviews Ed McChord (Jim Varney's cousin)
The IOBE team interviews Ed McChord (Jim Varney's cousin)
David Pagano holding a laptop next to Daniel Scarpati putting on headphones behind a camera
Director David Pagano and cinematographer Daniel Scarpati get serious about having fun.
A photo of Jim Varney sits on an endtable next to Jim Varney's Emmy award
Some appropriate set dressing.
The IOBE team interviews Andrea Lloyd and Justin Lloyd
The IOBE team interviews Andrea Lloyd (Jim Varney's niece) and Justin Lloyd
L-R: Daniel Scarpati, Andrea Lloyd, Justin Lloyd, and David Pagano discuss Jim Varney memorabilia
L-R: Daniel Scarpati, Andrea Lloyd, Justin Lloyd, and David Pagano discuss various pieces of Jim Varney memorabilia
Six VHS tapes of Jim Varney's work on a tabletop
A few Jim Varney VHS tapes in need of digitizing.
Phil Baker holding a clapboard in front of his face
Ernest Day co-founder Phil Baker gets ready for his close-up.
Jim Varney's grave and some assorted mementos
Jim Varney's grave and some assorted mementos, circa 2023
A guestbook that says "thank you for helping to make the Jim Varney / Ernest documentary happen!"
Signing the guestbook of our Airbnb rental.

Ernest Day 2023

Even though we didn't film this year's Ernest Day event, we still got a few updates from our team members in attendance!

A series of people dressed as Ernest stand with their backs to the camera in front of a large crowd
Fans show up en masse for the annual Ernest Look-alike Contest.
The Montgomery Bell State Park map and a legend for locating all of the Ernest Day activities.
The Montgomery Bell State Park map and a legend for locating all of the Ernest Day activities.
Two fans dressed as Billy "Boogie" Worrell and two dressed as Auntie Nelda with Ernest Day co-founder Phil Baker
You know the Ernest fandom is full force when two Billy "Boogie" Worrells and two Auntie Neldas show up (seen here with Ernest Day co-founder Phil Baker).

Dizney Coast to Coast interview

David Pagano made a recent appearance on the Dizney Coast to Coast podcast! David and host Jeff DePaoli discussed "Ernest Goes to Splash Mountain", the IOBE documentary, how Ernest inspired modern comedy filmmaking, the correct way to pronounce "Worrell", and more. You can take a listen to the full interview below!

That's all for this update! Happy birthday, Jim!

- David