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."