Film series, concerts kick off five-year celebration of Hoagy Carmichael at IU

Nov. 14, 2013


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- An IU alumnus. An actor who appeared in nearly a dozen feature films shot during Hollywood's golden age. A songwriter who composed hundreds of hits, including four of the most-recorded American tunes of all time, rubbing elbows with the likes of Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller and Louis Armstrong.

Howard Hoagland "Hoagy" Carmichael, perhaps one of Bloomington's best known native sons, will be honored with a 114th birthday celebration this month on the Indiana University Bloomington campus. Featuring a film series and concerts, the event kicks off a five-year celebration of Carmichael's life, music and films.

"He's one of our own," said IU Kelley School of Business senior lecturer Keith Dayton, a member of the committee planning the Carmichael celebration. "He graduated from IU with two degrees, was in the Kappa Sigma fraternity here, knew everyone in Hollywood and wrote songs that are still being played today. He's just a remarkable man, a true Renaissance man, and we wanted to ensure that his memory and legacy continue to be honored."

Born and raised in Bloomington, Carmichael is buried here in Rose Hill Cemetery. He is memorialized with a state historical marker near the corner of Kirkwood and Indiana streets downtown, and a sculpture depicting him behind his piano was dedicated in 2008 in the campus fine arts plaza, near the front doors of IU Cinema.

In 1986, the Carmichael family donated his archives, piano and memorabilia to the university, which established a Hoagy Carmichael Collection in the Archives of Traditional Music and the Hoagy Carmichael Room to permanently display selections from the collection. The collection includes more than 750 recordings featuring Carmichael as composer or performer, as well as films, photographs, lyrics, original manuscripts, correspondence, scrapbooks and other personal effects.

Filmmaker Peter Davis, whose work-in-progress documentary titled "Hoagy" will be screened at 7 p.m. Nov. 22 at IU Cinema as part of the birthday celebration, will deliver a Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture. His lecture begins at 3 p.m. Nov. 22 at the cinema, and is free and open to the public.

IU Cinema will screen two films that feature Carmichael as an actor alongside the likes of Myrna Loy and Cary Grant:

  • 3 p.m. Nov. 23, "The Best Years of Our Lives" -- Winner of seven Academy Awards, this film follows three returning World War II veterans as they try to recover their lives.
  • 3 p.m. Nov. 24, "Topper" -- Adapted from a Thorne Smith novel, this film is the first in a series of comedies that center on a wealthy, fun-loving couple who become ghosts following a car accident.

All screenings at the IU Cinema are free but ticketed. Tickets can be obtained at the IU Auditorium Box Office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; one hour before any screening at the cinema; or by phone at 812-855-1103 for a $10 service fee per order.

In other events, the Archives of Traditional Music will host a birthday concert for Carmichael from noon to 1 p.m. Dec. 6 in the Hoagy Carmichael Room in Morrison Hall. The performance is free and open to the public. Community radio station WFHB will celebrate Carmichael's birthday with performances at Player's Pub, 424 S. Walnut St., by the Stardusters Big Band on Nov. 21 and the Andy Cobine Trio, the Lara Lynn Trio and The Double Digits with Leon Chance on Nov. 22.

The celebration is endorsed by the Carmichael family and is sponsored by the Archives of Traditional Music, IU Foundation, Indiana Memorial Union, UB Films, faculty friends in the Kelley School of Business and IU Cinema. In addition to Dayton, members of the planning committee are Archives of Traditional Music librarian Suzanne Mudge, professor emeritus Tom Hustad, executive associate in the IU Foundation's Office of the President Emeritus Dick Bishop, Indiana Memorial Union executive director Bruce Jacobs and IU Cinema director Jon Vickers.