Jeepers Creepers

Album: Going Places (1938)

Songfacts®:

  • Written by Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer for the 1938 movie Going Places (starring Dick Powell, Anita Louise and Ronald Reagan), this was first performed by Louis Armstrong. In the movie, Armstrong is a trainer who tries to soothe a wild race horse named Jeepers Creepers by singing the tune or playing it on his trumpet. In the lyrics, the narrator is smitten by someone's pair of lovely eyes:

    Jeepers creepers, where'd you get them peepers?
    Jeepers creepers, where'd you get those eyes?


    Johnny Mercer, who went on to write lyrics for standards like "Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread)" and "Moon River," recalls when the inspiration for "Jeepers Creepers" struck: "My wife and I went to see a movie one night at Grauman's Chinese Theater and Henry Fonda played a farm boy in it.... And in the movie he saw something, something impressed him, and he said 'Jeepers creepers,' and that just rang a little bell in my head, and I wrote it down when I got out of the movie."
  • Harry Warren was also a prolific composer and lyricist, with over 800 songs to his credit, including "I Only Have Eyes For You." He teamed up with Mercer again in 1938 to write the popular tune "You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby."
  • Plenty of artists recorded this, including Frank Sinatra (Swing Easy!, 1954) and Bing Crosby (Bing Sings Whilst Bregman Swings, 1956), but not many included Armstrong's original opening:

    Now, I don't care what the weather man says
    When the weatherman says it's raining
    You'll never hear me complaining, I'm certain the sun will shine
    I don't care how the weather vane points
    When the weather vane points to gloomy
    It's gotta be sunny to me, when your eyes look into mine
  • Armstrong included this on his 1964 album, Hello, Dolly!
  • The 2001 horror film Jeepers Creepers not only borrows its title from the song, but features a 1938 version from Paul Whiteman and his Swing Wing to signal when the killer (The Creeper) is coming.
  • Actress Gretchen Wyler sang this on the 1997 Friends episode "The One with the Dirty Girl." In the scene, Monica is trying to get paid for catering a wake, but the widow is occupied with singing songs.
  • This was nominated for Best Song at the 11th Academy Awards in 1939. It lost to "Thanks For The Memory" from the Bob Hope movie The Big Broadcast of 1938.
  • The 1988 Siouxsie and the Banshees hit Peekaboo uses elements of this song, including the similar line, "Golly jeepers, where'd you get those peepers?" Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer were given songwriting credits on that track.
  • This was also used in these movies:

    Cafe Society (2016)
    Red Dog (2011)
    Pearl Harbor (2001)
    Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)
    Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
    Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

    And in these TV series:

    Family Guy ("Welcome Back Carter" – 2010)
    The X-Files ("Triangle" – 1998)
    Night Court ("The Law Club" – 1988, "Halloween Too" – 1985, "Quadrangle of Love" – 1984)

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