"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:

Happy Ernest Day 2021!
over 2 years ago – Sat, Jun 12, 2021 at 11:07:44 AM

In today's update:

  • 60% funded, $39k+
  • Reward images
  • Ernest in pop culture
  • An IOBE Ernest Day announcement

Happy Ernest Day, everyone! We woke today to find ourselves at 60% of our fundraising goal, having raised just shy of $40k so far. 

It's been a big week for Ernest- and IOBE-related visuals! First off, we FINALLY have images of all of the current reward tiers, so that you can get a better idea of what each pledge and add-on actually looks like. It speaks to the passion of the Ernest fanbase that many of the "Vintage Sgt. Glory prints" are already gone when I didn't even have a chance to post photos of them yet! 

You can see all of these reward images on the main Campaign page

In addition to images that we made, there are also some works of Ernest fan art worth checking out—including this "Ernest is Worthy" image by @allenolantern, made by remixing the Sprite images from the DeVault Vault:

And this incredible work of Ernest art by Neil Fraser Graphics, a private commission by—who else?—a group of Ernest fans: 

It feels as though Ernest's presence in pop culture comes more and more to the forefront every day. Nowhere was this more obvious this week than when everyone's favorite Worrell showed up in a monologue on "The Late Show"

When you need an example of someone being a magnet, look no further than Ernest P. Worrell

We also got an official reply from Sprite on our Ernest "Gator Pit" ad post, expressing a sentiment no one can argue with:

'Nuff said.

This isn't even everything that happened this week (more updates coming shortly)! But all in all, it's an incredibly exciting time for our campaign and for Ernest fans in general... and what better way to wrap up the week than with the 5th annual Ernest Day celebration in TN?

Oh right, our IOBE Ernest Day announcement that I mentioned above...

I'm happy to announce that the IOBE documentary team is planning to attend Ernest Day 2022—perfect timing, since it will also mark the 35th anniversary of Ernest Goes to Camp! We want to record all of the activities, meet and interview fans, and just generally capture the ways in which the organizers and attendees have been celebrating both Ernest and Jim Varney for the past five years. 

Whew, that's a lot! Keep sharing the links to our campaign, and have a great Ernest Day, everyone!

- David

The #IOBE Kickstarter passes the halfway mark!!
over 2 years ago – Wed, Jun 09, 2021 at 08:01:34 PM

In today's update: 

  • 54% funded, $32k+
  • Email outreach and social assets
  • Those two radio interview links
  • Ernest Day in TN this Saturday! 

Well, folks... after hovering just shy of $30k for what seemed like forever, we finally passed the 50% mark (and then some)!

We would not have made it this far without the help of the entire Ernest P. World! So many fans and followers have reached out over the last few weeks; asking to help share the fundraiser, send emails, post about it online, and all kinds of other offers of support. A continued thank-you to EVERYONE who has backed this campaign or reached out to the documentary team. We are incredibly grateful. 

For those of you now saying "hey, I can help, too..." Fear not! We've added this hidden page to our website to make this even easier. Head over to 

You'll find a customizable email template that includes all of our relevant links, as well as high-res versions of every IOBE branded image we've posted so far. We'll also be including the latest of our daily "progress banner" images, which are perfectly formatted for you to use as a header image on social media.

The progress banner from earlier today

Meanwhile, the two radio interviews we mentioned earlier are finally available to stream online! You can find them here: 

And finally, a reminder that the 5th annual Ernest Day event is this Saturday 6/12 at Montgomery Bell State Park in Burns, TN! Justin, Valerie and I won't be able to make it this year, but our own Daniel Butler will be in attendance... PLUS, we'll have a short video presentation with an update about the documentary production! 

I've posted the Ernest Day details and schedule below. Have a great time, everyone!

- David

Ernest Goes to Camp was filmed at Montgomery Bell State Park.  Come celebrate the genius that is Ernest on June 12,  2021.

We will have a day of fun activities planned, so come join us!

From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. we will be having:

Birds of Prey Program with Ranger Tim

Archery provided by TWRA

Free temporary tattoos and stickers, while supplies last. (Facepainting and crafts cancelled due to COVID-19)

......and don't forget Turtle Catapulting!
 *****(no turtles are harmed at this event!)*****

Nature Hikes will be available: (subject to change)

2 p.m.- 3 p.m.,
3:30 pm. - 4: 30 p.m.
5 p.m. - 6 p.m.

The Ernest Look Alike Contest is at 7 p.m.

7:30 p.m. Questions and Answer Session with actors from the Ernest Franchise! Eddy Shumacher (Counselor Stennis), Todd Lloyd (Chip Ozgood) and Daniel Butler (Eddy). (guest speakers subject to change)

Approximately  8:30 p.m. Ernest Goes To Camp Movie will be shown outside at the film's location!  Bring a blanket or chair and make yourself comfortable and watch the movie under the stars.

So come see us, #KnoWhatIMean?

The Event is free, however donations are always accepted!

Sprite, Vern!
over 2 years ago – Mon, Jun 07, 2021 at 11:00:38 AM

"Grapes are out, and Lymons are in... KnoWhutImean?"

Ernest pitched for a lot of products and brands... many of which no longer exist. But part of our publicity plan has been to search through the unseen Ernest content and find the brands that do still exist! (We tagged Sprite in our posts on Facebook and Twitter, if you'd like to share or retweet those.)

One Ernest-pitched product that's still around is the soft drink Sprite. Here's a commercial we digitized and upscaled recently—even though this hasn't been seen since the '80s, the dialogue and gag will be very familiar to Ernest fans. 

We also found a ton of Ernest & Sprite promo photos while digging through—what else?—the DeVault Vault

You could make the argument that Mello Yello is the soft drink more commonly associated with Ernest, but I think it makes sense that so much Sprite content exists. Sprite is a much more established brand, predating Mello Yello by nearly two decades. 

I almost wonder whether the Mello Yello promotion was a kind of proof of concept for The Coca-Cola Company, to see what Ernest could do for one of their not-as-well-known products. 

- David

FOR BACKERS ONLY — More Ernest images from the DeVault Vault!
over 2 years ago – Sat, Jun 05, 2021 at 01:45:49 PM

This post is for backers only. Please visit and log in to read.

Ernest P. in HD
over 2 years ago – Fri, Jun 04, 2021 at 08:03:06 PM

In today's update:

  • 43% funded, $26K+
  • IOBE radio interview for 590AM / 97.3FM in Lexington, KY
  • New video posts—now with captions
  • Upscaling the Ernest ads

Hello, Ernest P. World! We are wrapping up week two of our fundraising campaign with just over $26,000 raised... which is fantastic! I get the sense that everyone on the documentary team (and probably many of you) will collectively flip out when we hit 50% ($30k), so I'm looking forward to that. Thank you so much to everyone who has shared, posted, and otherwise forwarded our campaign link to new supporters!

Meanwhile, we still don't have any information about the air dates / times of our first radio interview... but we do for our second one! 

Justin will be interviewed LIVE on "Lexington’s Morning News With Jack Pattie" this Monday 6/7 at 9:05am. Local folks in Lexington, KY can tune in to 590AM / 97.3FM, while the rest of us can stream the interview simultaneously at the following link:

Speaking of links—here's one to our fundraising campaign video, now available on YouTube! You can also find it on the Facebook page for Justin's book. Both of those uploads (as well as the version on our main Campaign page) have captions now, too! We've been working hard to make this fundraising video as accessible and easy-to-share as possible. 

One reason it took a little longer to get this video posted elsewhere was because I was doing a bunch of tests, trying to convert the ad footage we've digitized from the Ernest master tapes into HD:

A before-and-after gif of one of my upscaling tests

Even though the Ernest ads were shot on film, the finishing and everything else was done on standard-definition video. Without turning this into a discussion of digital video formats, I'll sum it up this way: if our fundraising video was shot in 4K resolution, then the Ernest ads by comparison are something like 0.89K—they're less than a quarter of the quality we'd want, in order for them to look good side-by-side with HD footage and photo scans. 

I think I'll have four donuts.

The trick has been finding ways to increase the resolution without making Jim look like some kind of strange wax figure in the process. (Check out the bottom-right Convenient ad image; you can see that the software in that test was doing something funky to his nose.) And the success of this approach also depends on the quality of the source material. In some cases, we're working with a copy of a copy of a tape, which can be tough to do anything with. 

Anyway, now that I've had some more experience doing this kind of upscaling, I'm planning to use it for—among other things—some future promotional purposes. We'll have more to show on that next week!

- David