Jeepers Creepers (song)
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"Jeepers Creepers" is a popular song and jazz standard. The music was written by Harry Warren and the lyrics by Johnny Mercer for the 1938 movie Going Places. It was premiered by Louis Armstrong and has been covered by many other musicians. The song was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1938 but lost to "Thanks for the Memory".
This song was featured in the 1938 film Going Places starring Dick Powell, Anita Louise, and Ronald Reagan. Louis Armstrong appears in the role of Gabriel, the trainer of a race horse named Jeepers Creepers. Jeepers Creepers is a wild horse and can only be soothed enough to let someone ride him when Gabriel plays the song "Jeepers Creepers" on his trumpet or sings it to him. Gabriel wrote the song specifically for the horse. The phrase "jeepers creepers", a slang expression and minced oath euphemism for Jesus Christ, predates both the song and film. Mercer said that the title came from a Henry Fonda line in an earlier movie. The most famous lyrics in the song are:
Jeepers Creepers, where'd ya get those peepers?
Jeepers Creepers, where'd ya get those eyes?
Other film appearances
- The song is featured in a 1939 Warner Bros. cartoon short of the same name sung with substitute lyrics by the ghost. Variations played when Porky runs away from the ghost.
- An instrumental version of the song is featured in the 1939 animated short Kristopher Kolumbus Jr. during the dance number at the end.
- In 1939, a Warner Bros. short, Symphony of Swing, the song was performed by Artie Shaw and His Orchestra with Shaw on clarinet and a vocal by Tony Pastor.
- In the 1942 film Yankee Doodle Dandy, "Jeepers Creepers" is sung by a group of kids who pass by the house of George M. Cohan (played by James Cagney).
- The 1949 film My Dream Is Yours includes the song and it is sung by an unidentified female singer during Doug's trip to New York.
- The 1957 cartoon short Show Biz Bugs has Daffy Duck performing a tap dance number to the song.
- In the 1975 movie The Day of the Locust, the character Faye Greener (Karen Black) sings the song whenever she wants to disturb her father. Louis Armstrong's recording of the song plays over the film's closing credits. This song is also the 2nd theme song to Holden James Emery.
- The 1975 documentary film Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? includes Louis Armstrong's version.
- In the American satirical comedy film The Cheap Detective, the song is sung by Scatman Crothers at Nix Place. It is also played when Marlene and Peckinpaugh are drinking champagne and during the closing credits.
- Kevin Spacey's character Jim Williams plays the song on the organ in the Mercer House ballroom in the 1997 movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Mercer House was built for Mercer's great-grandfather Hugh Weedon Mercer, but due to the intervention of the Civil War he never lived there.
- The song and title was featured prominently in the 2001 horror movie Jeepers Creepers when The Creeper is nearby.
- In the 2016 film Café Society, "Jeepers Creepers" is performed by Vince Giordano and the Night Hawks and Kat Edmonson.
- The Sweathogs sing the song for a talent show in a 1977 episode of Welcome Back Kotter ("Barbarino in Love: Part 1").
- The song was sung by Christine in a 1988 episode of Night Court ("The Law Club").
- In the 1997 Friends episode "The One With the Dirty Girl", Mrs. Burkart (Gretchen Wyler) sings the song at her husband's funeral.
- In the 1998 The X-Files episode "Triangle" where much of the episode takes place on a 1939 British cruise ship, a woman in the ship's ballroom sings a version of the song.
- The song was played in Season 9, Episode 4 of Family Guy, "Welcome Back Carter," as well as Season 15, Episode 7, "High School English".
- Al Donahue's version of this song reached No. 1 in Billboard magazine in 1938.
- Frank Sinatra included the song in his album Swing Easy! (1954).
- Dave Brubeck's rendition of the song appears on the 1955 album Brubeck Time aka Instant Brubeck.
- Bing Crosby recorded the song on his 1956 album Bing Sings Whilst Bregman Swings.
- Tony Bennett included the song in his 1959 album Strike Up the Band.
- Al Caiola recorded an instrumental version of this song.
- Hayley Mills recorded this song in 1962 for the American Buena Vista label.
- The Kidsongs Children and the Biggles (Julene Renee, Patty Lloyd, Jeni Lytton and Debbie Lyton) sang this song in their 1995 Baby Animal Songs video and DVD.
- In 1994, the song was covered by the Fun Songs Kids in Mickey's Fun Songs: Campout at Walt Disney World.
- A recording of the song was made by The Puppini Sisters on their 2006 debut album Betcha Bottom Dollar.
- The Hi-Lo's included the song on their 2006 A Musical Thrill album.
- A jazz-pop cover, "Jeepers Creepers 2.0", appeared on the 2014 album Little Secret by Nikki Yanofsky.
- Alex Mendham & His Orchestra recorded a version of this song in their 2017 album On with the Show.
- The song became a popular sound clip on Tik Tok in 2020.
Additionally, "Peek-a-Boo", the first single from Siouxsie and the Banshees's 1988 studio album Peepshow, was found to be too similar to the lyrics of "Jeepers Creepers". To remedy the situation and to avoid legal action, Siouxsie and the Banshees gave co-songwriting credit on "Peek-a-Boo" to Warren and Mercer.