Here’s two minutes of Louis Armstrong in shining form, in the 1938 film “Going Places.” I will brush aside the obvious objections, that Louis, dressed as a groom, sings and plays to a horse; his music is interrupted and nearly obscured by foolish dialogue and shots of that same horse whinnying; the synchronization of music and image is faulty at times.
Louis loved JEEPERS CREEPERS and performed it until the end of his life, always buoyantly, and this version allows him a full instrumental chorus with no accompaniment, then, when he starts to sing, the studio orchestra’s backing is both simple and sympathetic — piano, bass, and guitar, reminiscent of Joe Sullivan and Bobby Sherwood on Bing Crosby’s MOONBURN. Catch the wonderful rubato turn as Louis slows down the end of the verse, eyes aglow, before joyously entering the chorus. Lucky horse, lucky us.
(A postscript: when I had finished writing this post, I did as many bloggers do — went to Google Images to find some visual representation of the Harry Warren – Johnny Mercer song whose goofy lyrics Louis renders so cheerfully. The first seventeen pages of Google Images for “Jeepers Creepers,” top left, are devoted to stills from a horror movie of the same name. We live in interesting times to be sure.)