One of the most beloved characters to ever grace a television commercial around Austin, Texas during the 1970’s thru 1990’s was Earnest P. Worrell….who was always talking to his friend, Vern, in his famous commercials.
Ernest P. Worrell is a fictional character portrayed by American actor Jim Varney in a series of television commercials….primarily shot on digital video (a novelty at the time of this commercial herewith)….and later in a television series (Hey Vern, It’s Ernest!)….as well as a series of feature films. Ernest was created by the Nashville advertising agency Carden & Cherry….and was used in various local television ad campaigns. The only national products he promoted were The Coca-Cola Company’s sodas….Chex cereals….and Taco John’s…..with the 1st Ernest commercial, filmed in 1980, advertised an appearance by the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders at Beech Bend Park….an amusement park near Bowling Green, Kentucky. The format of the commercials seldom varied.
The rubber-faced Ernest, almost always dressed in a denim vest and baseball cap….appeared at the door of an unseen and unheard but seemingly unwilling neighbor named Vern. The spots were structured in a way to allow the viewer to be “Vern” …..as Varney looked directly in the camera whenever Vern was addressed. Ernest’s seemingly pointless conversations with Vern….which were actually a monologue due to Vern never responding….inevitably rambled around to a favorable description of the sponsor’s product …..which was followed by his signature close, “KnowhutImean?”….and while Vern is never shown to ever say anything….it is implied that he finds Ernest to be an unwelcome pest due to him trying to slam his door in Ernest’s face on a few occasions. Vern also shakes his head “No” whenever Ernest invites him to do something. Ernest, despite having good intentions….which is utterly oblivious to Vern’s apparent distress regarding him…..and always regarding Vern as his closest buddy and confidant.
Any way you cut the pie….this Earnest P. Worrell television commercial for KVUE Channel 36 in Austin is very near and dear to our hearts down in central Texas…..for we at ImaSportsphile consider this a “nugget of gold” in our treasure chest of vintage memories.