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.[1] 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.[1] The most famous lyrics in the song are:

Jeepers Creepers, where'd ya get those peepers?
Jeepers Creepers, where'd ya get those eyes?[1]

There were three popular versions of the song released in 1939, by Al Donahue, Louis Armstrong, and Larry Clinton.[2]

Other film appearances[edit]

Television appearances[edit]

  • 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".

Other renditions[edit]

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.


  1. ^ a b c "Music USA #7881-A, Interview with Johnny Mercer". 28 July 1976.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1986). Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890–1954. Wisconsin: Record Research. p. 533. ISBN 0-89820-083-0.