Were they or weren’t they friends?

Back in my undergrad days, I was hired by a retired jazz musician or some such insider to gleam through microfilm copies of the Indiana Daily Student and other sources as research for a bio or history book he was writing in New York.

The project opened my eyes to a wide range of 1920s’ history revolving around Bloomington, especially the legendary cornet player Bix Biederbecke and the Hoosier native Hoagy Carmichael. Yes, the place was a jazz hothouse, hard as that might be to believe.

I wish I still had carbon copies of my correspondence on that effort, but I do remember learning of a hitchhiking trip to a Harvard-Indiana University football game that Carmichael shared with Ernie Pyle, editor-in-chief of the Indiana Daily Student.

Seems it took them three weeks or maybe six to get back to campus from Massachusetts.

It’s a great story, no question, kind of pre-hippie, in this case two future celebrities back before they became famous.

The only problem, I’m not finding any corroboration online. Worse yet, I’m not sure how much Pyle and Carmichael’s timelines overlap. Besides, they were members of different fraternities, lessening the likelihood of a joint spree.

The game happened in October 1927, the same time Carmichael was making the premiere recording “Star Dust” in Richmond, Indiana. Pyle, meanwhile, was likely employed by either the New York Post or Evening World and had married. Some of his details get fuzzy.

I don’t remember who the writer was or whether his book ever came out.

By the way, IU lost, in a 26-6 rout.

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