"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:

Strong Progress! 💪
over 2 years ago – Wed, Jun 02, 2021 at 06:20:24 PM

In today's update: 

  • 39% funded, $23K+
  • Justin interviewed on KMSU 89.7 FM-Mankato & KMSK 91.3 FM-Austin in Minnesota
  • The latest from the DeVault Vault

Hello, Ernest P. World! We have recovered and regrouped after the holiday weekend, and have been hard at work on pushing this project forward!

We're very happy with this progress—especially since a holiday weekend usually means folks are away from their computers, spending time outdoors with family and friends. (It probably didn't hurt that the Jim Varney discussion was continuing on through the weekend.)

Say... that's a nice tweet.

Meanwhile, the first of our promotional interviews happened! Our own Justin Lloyd had a 15-minute conversation with host Dustin Wilmes for KMSU 89.7 FM-Mankato & KMSK 91.3 FM-Austin in Minnesota. We don't have exact airdates / times for that interview yet, but as soon as we do, we'll let you all know!

Justin has also been hard at work scanning more of the photos we received from Jim DeVault—including this photo shoot of Ernest flexing on followers of Green's Dairy from York, PA. Comparing Jim and Ernest to other muscle-bound performers happens regularly, so these made for amusing discussion on social media. 

You can find that (and more of the photo shoot images) here and here

- David

Ernest Goes to the Indy 500
over 2 years ago – Fri, May 28, 2021 at 03:12:05 PM

In today's update: 

  • The Indy 500: A Pivotal Moment in Ernest History
  • The IOBE Documentary becomes a Kickstarter #ProjectWeLove

The 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 is this Sunday—the perfect time to look back on Ernest's own appearance at the event, 36 years ago this week. 

Why? Well, without the Indy 500, there may never have been any Ernest movies at all. Here's the full story from Justin Lloyd's book:

In May 1985, the annual Indy 500 Festival was held. Like every year, thousands of people descended on Indianapolis to attend the festival events leading up to the Indianapolis 500 Race. The theme of the festival was “The Wonderful World of Disney,” with cartoon icon Mickey Mouse serving as grand marshal of the celebrity car parade around the famed track...

During the parade, Mickey Mouse received predictable applause as he waved to the throngs of cheering onlookers. Jim, dressed as Ernest, followed shortly behind riding atop a red convertible. As people began to recognize the blue-jean vest and khaki cap, they cheered wildly, far more than for Mickey. Ernest’s huge reception was not lost on Disney’s new CEO, Michael Eisner, and new studio head Jeffrey Katzenberg, both of whom were in the crowd. Eisner later recalled the experience: “I was at the Indianapolis 500 … and there was a parade … 500,000 people were there. The governor went by and: applause. Mickey Mouse went by: more applause. All of a sudden, Jim Varney went by (as Ernest), and 500,000 people went berserk. So I said, ‘We ought to do something about that.’”

This event, of course, led to "Ernest Goes to Camp" being released almost exactly two years later. 

Just as the pace car seemed to move forward in a way Jim was not prepared for, his career would soon experience that same jolt from the Disney marriage his appearance spawned that day.

In other news: this fundraising campaign was just selected as one of Kickstarter's #ProjectsWeLove! You may have noticed the tiny banner just below the project video on the main Campaign page. We quickly created this updated promo art to celebrate the occasion:

We're thrilled and humbled by the response this project has received. None of us would be here without the support of the entire Ernest P. World, so on behalf of the documentary team: THANK YOU!

- David

WHY we're doing this, WHO'S involved, and WHAT'S in the box??
over 2 years ago – Thu, May 27, 2021 at 05:55:55 PM

In today's update:

  • We passed $17k!
  • A Message from the Director
  • A spooky eBay auction from Randy Schmitz
  • That box we received yesterday

Hi all! David here with a day 2 update. We broke $17,000 during the night, giving us a solid and respectable bump up from launch day. Crowdfunding curves typically start to flatten out after launch, so this is about what we expected.

I finally had a chance to write a (reasonably long) Director's Statement, explaining what all of this is and why we're doing it in more detail. You can check that out on the main Campaign page

One thing I included is a current list of folks who have signed on to participate in the film. We're definitely looking forward to updating that as we reach out to more people in the weeks and months to come. 

(If you know anyone we should be talking to for this film, please hit us up with an introduction.)

Meanwhile, donations of another sort have been pouring in to our campaign. Ernest fan Randy Schmitz listed these rare Ernest concept sketches and storyboards on eBay, saying: 

"These are items provided directly to me from the generous Cherry family back in 2013. Original artwork in the creation of Ernest movies. 100% of this sale will be donated to The Importance of Being Ernest documentary."

Thank you so much, Randy! If you'd like to bid on these items, you can find the auction listing here:

Finally, there's yesterday's mystery box, which we can now finally reveal the contents of...

Another generous donation—this one from official Ernest photographer Jim DeVault, who sent us 24 pounds worth of Ernest photos, prints, and other items! We've been talking to Jim about this content for a while now, affectionately referring to it as "The DeVault Vault". 

There's tons of files, negatives, and other stuff to go through—lots of things we've never seen before! (And perhaps some new add-on items for this Kickstarter campaign?)

Wonderful stuff. Thank you so much, Jim!

- David

Thank you to all of our #IOBE Day One Backers!
over 2 years ago – Wed, May 26, 2021 at 05:49:03 PM

Greetings, IOBE Backers!

David here. On behalf of the entire team, thank you all SO much for supporting our "Importance of Being Ernest" documentary project! Your interest and enthusiasm (and let's be real, cash) has turned our crowdfunding kick-off into a veri-table extravaganzo... and I'm certain you all KnoWhutImean. 

In our first 24 hours, we raised $15,466! An incredibly strong start, putting us 26% of the way towards our first goal.

But wait—"first goal"? What does that mean? Well, some of you may have noticed a few details in this campaign that need to be explained or elaborated upon... hang tight! They will be in the updates to come. 

In the meantime, we've got a brand-new website, a series of A's to your Q's in our campaign FAQ page, and lots more on the way. We're just as excited as you are to continue along on this journey and share the Ernest / Jim Varney goodies we've been uncovering.

For example, this 24-pound box that was delivered to Justin earlier today:

What's inside, you ask? Stay tuned. 

In the meantime, keep sharing the campaign with everyone in your neighborhood—use the direct link and the #IOBE and #BeingErnestFilm hashtags!

- David