Going Places (1938)
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Dick Powell and Anita Louise are the nominal stars of the horse-racing comedy Going Places (1938), but Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong steals the show as a groom whose rendition of "Jeepers Creepers" has such a calming effect upon an obstreperous horse of the same name that it settles down to become a champion. Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren won a Best Song Oscar nomination for "Jeepers Creepers." The song later would be sung in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), The Day of the Locust (1975), The Cheap Detective (1978) and the recent horror thriller of the same title directed by Victor Salva.
In Going Places, Powell plays a sporting goods salesman who poses as a famous jockey to get in with the upper-class horse set. He ends up astride Jeepers Creepers in a big race with Armstrong and a group of musicians riding alongside in a wagon so Satchmo can play his trumpet and sing to the horse! At a party, in another unlikely situation for a horse groom, Armstrong leads an all-black orchestra and a group of black singers and dancers in a production number called "Mutiny in the Nursery."
Going Places, based on a play by Victor Mapes and William Collier, was filmed three times before, first as a silent called Hottentot (1923), then as a talkie of the same title (1929) and next as a Joe E. Brown vehicle called Polo Joe (1936). Powell, still in the lightweight-crooner phase of his career, was six years away from reinventing himself as a hard-boiled detective in Murder, My Sweet (1944). Ronald Reagan has a supporting role in Going Places as a stable owner's playboy son.
Louis Armstrong (1900-1971) emerged as one of the world's greatest jazz stars in a career that spanned more than a half-century. He made his movie debut in Ex-Flame (1931). Among his other notable film appearances are Cabin in the Sky (1943), A Song Is Born (1948), The Glenn Miller Story (1954), High Society (1956), Satchmo the Great (1957) and Hello Dolly! (1969).
Producer: Hal B. Wallis
Director: Ray Enright
Screenplay: Sig Herzig, Maurice Leo, Jerry Wald, from the play The Hottentot by William Collier, Sr. and Victor Mapes
Cinematography: Arthur L. Todd
Art Direction: Hugh Reticker
Costume Design: Howard Shoup
Original Music: Johnny Mercer, Harry Warren, Sam Perry (uncredited), Heinz Roemheld (uncredited)
Editing: Clarence Kolster
Principal Cast: Dick Powell (Peter Mason, aka Peter Randall), Anita Louise (Ellen Parker), Allen Jenkins (Droopy), Ronald Reagan (Jack Withering), Walter Catlett (Franklin Dexter), Louis Armstrong (Gabriel).
by Roger Fristoe