John Cherry, partner and head of the creative department at Carden and Cherry Advertising in Nashville, hit pay dirt in the 1980s with a series of quirky commercials starring the late rubber-faced Jim Varney as Ernest P. Worrell, an unwelcome pest of an unseen neighbor named Vern. Ernest's catchphrases, "Hey, Vern" and "Know WhutImean?," quickly became part of the pop lexicon. Ernest proved so popular with kids that Varney and Cherry took the character to the big screen for several films, starting with 1987's "Ernest Goes to Camp" to television with the 1988 CBS kids' show, "Hey Vern, It's Ernest." Cherry has written a memoir which he points out is not for children about his experiences called "Keeper of the Clown: My Life With Ernest," available on Amazon, at bookstores and at http://www.HeyVernItsErnest.com.m.
Mark Humphrey / Associated Press
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