Question: Before Ernest P. Worrell was in the movies, he was in those "Hey, Vern" commercials. Who were they for? — Jennifer

Televisionary: Actually, Ernest P. Worrell was a character played by comedian and actor Jim Varney. And an easier question to answer might be who the commercials weren't for.

Ernest was born in 1980 when Nashville advertising man John Cherry, who later directed the Ernest films, created the character. The "KnowhutImean?" guy did thousands of regional and local ads for dairy products, used car dealerships, TV and radio stations, pizza and even the Atlanta Braves.

Varney and Co. squeezed nine movies out of the character, though many forget the actor also appeared in TV shows (Operation Petticoat, Fernwood 2-Night, Alice) and starred as Jed Clampett in the big-screen version of The Beverly Hillbillies.

A longtime smoker, Varney was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1998 and succumbed to the disease at the age of 50 earlier this year.