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Ernest Goes to the Movies - My Brush with Stupid - "KnowhutImean?"

Updated on January 12, 2014

Meeting Actor Jim Varney (1949-2000) and the Top Ten "Ernest" Movies

Jim Varney was a classic comedy film icon.

With meager beginnings, he was adored by his fans and this shows in the way he portrayed himself around them. I was able to see him in person at the premiere of his very first feature movie in 1986.

Prior to the movie beginning, I was able to take some really funny photos of Varney and one in particular below, shows he he adored his fans.

Like many comedy greats, Varney left us early so I am dedicating this website to him and his legion of fans, of which I am one. I have included the top ten selling movies by Varney in this website for you to preview and purchase, if you would like to own them in your collection.

Please take your time to visit and participate in this website.

Thank you for your time and for visiting the site of this incredible comic genius!

Photo by Author of this website, tvyps

Purple Star
Purple Star

"Stupid is as stupid does."

Forrest Gump

Photo I took of Jim Varney with an Enamored Fan

Jim Varney
Jim Varney
Ernest T Bass
Ernest T Bass

Ernest P is not Ernest T!

Jim Varney was from Kentucky. I was fortunate to see his first movie, "Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam" at the premiere in Kentucky, in 1986.

Varney was there and did some photo shots and public appearances. I took the photos on this website at that event.

Jim Varney was a cult icon, even before he hit the big screen. He was on commercials for various products, one below is to advertise for "Hogan's Heroes." I remember most of the commercials in my Ohio area for milk and dairy products.

The "Ernest P. Worrell" character was actually created by his partner, John Cherry. He pitched the idea to Varney, who took it from there.

Varney was a creative genius along the same vein as Paul Reubens (Pee Wee Herman) and Cyndi Lauper. They all used their uncanny ability to come up with alter-egos and were very successful at it. Varney was actually near genius level in IQ, despite how he acted on film. His character name had nothing to do with the character, "Ernest T. Bass" on the Andy Griffith Show.

The concept of "Vern" was originally created because of budget. It was cheaper for someone to hold a camera than to have another actor and it allowed Varney to use his creativity in his ad-lib.

Ernest used various phrases that are still around today. I still hear people say, "Hey Vern" on occasion and "KnowhutImean?" "KnowhutImean" was actually coined after one of Varney's cohorts visited Oklahoma and heard someone say, "Golly Bob Howdy".

Varney starred in quite a few films and even had his own television show. He was also the voice of a character in Toy Story and Toy Story 2.

Being a heavy smoker, Varney developed lung cancer and passed away at the age of 51. He is missed by millions of his fans but his presence lives on in his films.

Photo sent to me by Howard Morris

Ernest Commercial for Hogan's Heroes - Not a movie, but this is how I remember Jim Varney the best!

Ernest Scared Stupid (1991)

Ernest Scared Stupid
Ernest Scared Stupid

This is truly a silly movie.

Ernest accidentally unleashes a demon and then is rendered "stupid" and can't do anything about it. Find out what happens. If you love Ernest, you will love this one.


Ernest Scared Stupid - Opening Credits with a Frightened Ernest

Ernest Scared Stupid Poll

What are your thoughts on "Ernest Scared Stupid?"

See results

Ernest Goes to Jail (1990)

Ernest Goes to Jail
Ernest Goes to Jail

Ernest is framed and sent to jail because he resembles a crime boss.

I think this one is cleverly done and has a lot of really funny parts. A good family movie.


Scenes from Ernest Goes to Jail

Ernest Goes to Jail Poll

What did you think of "Ernest Goest to Jail?"

See results

Ernest Goes to Camp (1987)

Ernest Goes to Camp
Ernest Goes to Camp

This is one of my favorites and has a very funny clip with para-trooping turtles. You can see it below.

Ernest is a maintenance man at a camp and then becomes a counselor for juvenile delinquents. Full of action and a good movie if you are feeling down! It will make you laugh!


Ernest Goes to Camp - Turtle Paratroopers

Ernest Goes to Camp Poll

Did you like "Ernest Goes to Camp?"

See results

Funny Scene from Ernest Saves Christmas

Ernest Saves Christmas Poll

Did you enjoy "Ernest Saves Christmas?"

See results

Ernest Rides Again (1993)

Ernest Rides Again [DVD]
Ernest Rides Again [DVD]

This is one of the more believable "Ernest" films and has a believable plot and fun chase scene.

Good wholesome, fun, family entertainment. Some consider this his best film. Watch it for yourself and please let us know what you think!


Opening Sequences of Ernest Rides Again

Ernest Rides Again Poll

What were your thoughts of "Ernest Rides Again?"

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Ernest Goes to School (1994)

Ernest Goes To School [DVD]
Ernest Goes To School [DVD]

Another highly-rated "Ernest" film. One of the funniest.

Ernest finally gets his diploma and also is a band musician. You can't miss the non-stop action in this one. A laugh riot from beginning to end.


Wrestling Scene from Ernest Goes to School

Ernest Goes to School Poll

Did you enjoy "Ernest Goes to School?"

See results

Ernest Goes to Africa (1997)

Ernest Goes to Africa
Ernest Goes to Africa

Part of this one is believable and part is not. This one reminded me of a cheaply budgeted "Three Stooges" movie but it was worth a few laughs.

Ernest falls in love and ends up in Africa. Treasure is involved but I won't give away the plot!


A Funny Scene from Ernest Goes to Africa

Ernest Goes to Africa Poll

Have you seen "Ernest Goes to Africa?" What were your thoughts?

See results

Ernest in the Army (1998)

Ernest in the Army
Ernest in the Army

Another highly-recommended bunch of buffoonery!

Ernest enlists in the Army and tries his hand at boot camp. You can imagine what follows. This film is one of Varney's higher-rated selections in the "Ernest" category.


Trailer from Ernest in the Army

Ernest in the Army Poll

What were your thoughts of "Ernest in the Army?"

See results

Hey, Vern, It's Ernest! (1988)

Hey Vern, It's Ernest!: The Complete Series
Hey Vern, It's Ernest!: The Complete Series

"Hey Vern, It's Ernest" is a compilation of segments of Jim Varney's television show starring "Vern."

It has short clips, designed at keeping your attention. I have watched several of these and they are really funny. I don't remember this being on television or I would've watched it.

Highly recommended!


"It's Pets" from Hey Vern, it's Ernest

Hey Vern, It's Ernest! Poll

Did you enjoy "Hey Vern, It's Ernest!?"

See results

Slam Dunk Ernest (1995)

Slam Dunk Ernest
Slam Dunk Ernest

This one is also very funny.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar helps Ernest play like a superstar with the help of some magic shoes. Not sure if they were designed by Michael Jordan.


Slam Dunk Ernest - The Full Movie

Slam Dunk Ernest Poll

Was "Slam Dunk Ernest" one of your favorite "Ernest" movies?

See results

Ernest Waves Goodbye - Photo I Took as He was Leaving the Premiere

Jim Varney
Jim Varney

Hey Vern, Please Leave some Comments! - Not sure about you, but this makes me hungry, or a little dizzy!

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    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 

      6 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      It was fun watching the clips of these movies! I haven't seen all the movies but quite a few. Good clean fun! Angel blessed!

    • MrMojo01 profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens on a very funny man!

    • cocomoonbeams profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for the trip down memory lane, and bringing up fond memories of watching silly movies with my dad!

    • nicks44 profile image


      6 years ago

      This is just simply mind bugging, how many things did Ernest actually do in his long life, except the fact he made almost a dozen movies, that I know off now! :)

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 

      6 years ago from La Verne, CA

      It is interesting that Mike Rowe has taken to the soft ball cap like Ernest. Their voices are similar don't you think? A baritone?

    • joannalynn lm profile image

      joannalynn lm 

      6 years ago

      My boys were introduced to the Ernest movies from their Dad and Uncle, and they all have a similar sense of humor. I could hear them all laugh at the same time. They love the Ernest films. For me, I just didn't find them entertaining. My boys wanted me to watch with them, so I did, and it seemed the movies were hours long. Recently, my younger son decided to pull out The Gumby Movie. I was convinced that film was at least three hours long, but it is in fact about an hour an a half. Suffering, the price we pay for parenting :). Memories of my kids younger years, watching Ernest movies on snowy North Idaho days.

    • Rosaquid profile image


      6 years ago

      We watched some of the Ernest movies when the kids were growing up. I forgot how fun they are! We could always use some belly laughs! Thanks for this great lens.

    • EEWorkouts profile image


      6 years ago

      Ernest will never be replaced. I remember the movies and the show. Always funny and always clean fun for everyone. Great lens!

    • Scullyvan profile image


      6 years ago

      What a fantastic lens! I didn't realize there were so many Ernest movies! He sure is missed.

    • Sara Krentz profile image

      Sara Krentz 

      6 years ago from USA

      I had no idea there were that many Ernest movies! Really cool lens.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 

      6 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA


    • BuildABetterMouse profile image

      Steve and Annette 

      6 years ago

      I love Ernest's Family Tree and am always attributing things I make up to "2 Condominiums" from "the Big Book".

    • bead at home mom profile image

      Teri Hansen 

      6 years ago

      Love and miss Jim Varney's work. Thanks for the walk down memory lane.

    • floppypoppygift1 profile image


      6 years ago

      Cool lens & congrats on being featured on the front page this week! Stellar! Cheers~cb

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Just had to shout your Ernest wonderfun on FB and...congratulations on that purple star and front page honors!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      What a perfect animation you came up with to honor Jim Varney, the man we all loved as Ernest wherever he went. I love the personal photos and reflections of a true fan for this "wonderfun" tribute! (Hey, I made up a new word for you!)

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 

      6 years ago

      when I was younger I remember Ernest Goes to Camp, I loved that movie...he did have a great character and he stayed in it at all times. A great comedian! Angel Blessed


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