CHAT SUMMARY: Legends of the Palouse

LEGENDS OF THE PALOUSE is the dream child of WSU grad Jeff McQuarrie. It's a wildly entertaining feature film winding through the characters and color of Cougar football history. McQuarrie stopped by the CF.C chat room Wednesday and covered an array of topics: great stories, seasons represented with film footage; release date and much more. Take a read through the chat summary, and afterward be sure to visit so you can get on Jeff's email notification list.

COUGFANcom: Welcome Jeff! Let's get this chat for CF.C members cranked up. We'll open it up with this: Take us through the experience with Keith Jackson, starting with where the interview took place.
JeffMcQuarrie: okay, thanks for having me. Keith offered to come to my house. I was freaking out. My wife couldn't even be in the same room. We let my son -- Jack -- stay home from school and Keith let Jack ask some interview questions.

billbradski: Out of all the Cougs you interviewed, is there a particular one that sticks out in your mind?
JeffMcQuarrie: Junior Tupuola. Rod Retherford and Mark Fields...and Rueben Mayes

bwcoug: What was the biggest surprise you uncovered in your research?
JeffMcQuarrie: there were so many...but a player from 1922 became a national celeb by apprehending a kidnapper

billbradski: What got you started on this project, was there a defining moment?
JeffMcQuarrie: before the Rose Bowl game of 2003 I saw 1916 Rose Bowl footage and thought, "Hmmm, we could do a movie"

billbradski: This is something most Cougs dream of working on!! well maybe just me.
JeffMcQuarrie: it has been incredibly awesome...I'm totally blessed that I can take the time.

COUGFANcom: So it's been three years?
JeffMcQuarrie: yep, almost three

COUGFANcom: Did you interview many NFL Cougs? Who were some?
JeffMcQuarrie: I believe the number is 36...past and present. Rien Long, Rian Lindell, Trufant, Tobeck, Bledsoe...funny story about Long..

palanb: What is the LAST (most recent) year covered in the video?
JeffMcQuarrie: Last year: 2003 team

billbradski: what's this story on Long?
JeffMcQuarrie: I was in San Diego. they were playing the chargers. I wasn't dressed nice enough to be at Rien's hotel so they kicked me out. I had to sneak into the restaurant to interview him and you can hear the rest. noise in the background

Kennewick Man: Sorry I'm late. 1- when does movies come out and 2 - which team did you pick as the best of all time?
JeffMcQuarrie: stay posted to my website:, out in September. Can't tell you yet who we picked...what's your guess?

Kennewick Man: Best team of all time. Leaf's or maybe the Holiday Bowl team.
JeffMcQuarrie: I have a panel of experts picking the best of all time and we'll count down the top 15

billbradski: are the panel of experts former players, coaches...etc.?
JeffMcQuarrie: Experts: a few from cfc, Bobo, Dick Fry, but no coaches

COUGFANcom: Do you think people will be surprised at just how rich WSU's history truly is...How about some notable examples...
JeffMcQuarrie: our history is incredibly rich. The Golden Years of Cougar Athletics (Hollingbery, Bohler, Deeter, etc) yields some hilarious stories

Kennewick Man: How much did the movie cost to make and how did you fund it?
JeffMcQuarrie: I funded it myself and I'm too embarrassed to admit how much, but it was most of my life savings

COUGFANcom: Have a quick note on the documentary and a question for the CF.C members here. The footage, and in particular the old footage, is simply glorious..From the 65 Cardiac Kids, the '72 season, etc. for example. To help Jeff get a sense of what the market will bear, what would the Cougar Nation spend for the 4 hour DVD?
Kennewick Man: may depend on the reviews, something like $35 i guess
theRabidCat: $100. But it looks priceless. From a marketing sense you'd probably want to keep it at $45. Seriously, though, from what I've seen this is worth $100 for any diehard Cougfan.
billbradski: Once word is out that there's a DVD about the history of WSU football, I can see great demand. We on CF.C are lucky to get such insight on this.
billbradski: price range as KM said any where between $25 - $35
theRabidCat: 4 hours of Cougar Glory! Mark it up to $45!
billbradski: If this was an auction item at one of the Golf tournaments....could go for a lot!

COUGFANcom: Jeff, talk about the footage that is in the documentary
JeffMcQuarrie: It's plugged full of inspirational stories (Mark Fields cancer, Mike Utley's paralysis and a bunch of great, great stories you probably don't know about.) It also has highlights from the top 15 teams dating all the way back to 1916.

Kennewick Man: who was the coolest dude your interviewed?
JeffMcQuarrie: coolest dude: so guys would be proud to know that our players are class acts. Robbie Tobeck and Mark Fields are pretty darn cool, but Steve Gleason is up there too. so many. Mark Fields gave me and my son big bear hugs. Bledsoe made a special message to my son cuz he was sick and couldn't attend the interview.

COUGFANcom: How many different seasons are documented with game footage
JeffMcQuarrie: All seasons are documented with footage except the first team (1894). But even 1894 has great photos.

COUGFANcom: All seasons up to 2003 are documented with footage save for 1894...that's absolutely amazing. How on earth did you track down all that footage
JeffMcQuarrie: Tracking down footage: Freakin' took me forever. Nightmare. 12-14 hour days and huge phone bills.

billbradski: This was a personal project for you. How much did this effect your every day working life and your family life?
JeffMcQuarrie: How it affected my personal/family life: My wife and son are huge Cougfans, so I'm blessed

bwcoug: Did you interview any of the notorious wild men in WSU football history? Keith Millard, for instance?
JeffMcQuarrie: Wild men: I want this tape to be good for recruiting. For that reason I avoided some guys that I maybe should have interviewed? Cory Withrow is kinda wild man, in a classy way. Junior Tupuola was really wild in his day, but now he's a reverend.

COUGFANcom: Did the project change over the three years..was it always going to be a 4-hour documentary
JeffMcQuarrie: Very perceptive: It started out being a 30 min video on babe Hollingbery and I got carried away.

YakiCoug: So Tupuola...these days?
JeffMcQuarrie:Yes, Junior is a Reverend in So. Cal

COUGFANcom: How many hours did you shoot to come up with the final four
JeffMcQuarrie: over 100 interviews, including the guy who did the Cougar head logo. Lots of beautiful Palouse scenery. 3 music videos. About 150 hours of tape.

COUGFANcom: Talk to any Huskies for the project?
JeffMcQuarrie: Sonny Sixkiller about Gary Larsen's War Dance

Kennewick Man: did you talk with Jack Thompson
JeffMcQuarrie: Yes, Jack was one of the first. I named my son for him. I'm a freak

bestcougr: Who did you enjoy interviewing the most?
JeffMcQuarrie: Junior Tupuola. I was out of control in college too, so I totally relate to his story and was totally inspired...hope you guys are when you see it.

Kennewick Man: How about Sweeney, Erickson, Price or Doba?
JeffMcQuarrie: Sweeney. yes. Erickson, yes, Doba yes

COUGFANcom: Again on the rich heritage at WSU, how about a couple of stories or interesting factoids, ones most people might not know
JeffMcQuarrie: Babe Hollingbery: Only drove Green Cars. Only wore Green suits. Went 10 years until he finally lost a home game. Doc Bohler once decked Turk Edwards for making fun of his lisp. In the 20's and 30's we were very dominant in almost all sports.

theRabidCat: Who or what was the best resource you had for this film?
JeffMcQuarrie: Best Resource: Greg and John Witter of CF.C and Richard B. "Dick" Fry of "The Crimson and the Gray". George Rowswell (played in the 30's lives here in Olympia and played for the Cougs against Jackie Robinson!)

Kennewick Man: are you also going to pick a best victory of all time?
JeffMcQuarrie: Best Victory: Yes, sort of. I think we feature two actually.

YakiCoug: How'd you narrow it to two? That must have been tough
theRabidCat: I hope one of your best victories was the Holiday Bowl win over Texas! That 2003 team has to be one of the 15 right? How did you pick the top 15? Did you consult others?
JeffMcQuarrie: Advice from old timers like Bobo, Dick Fry, Bob Smawley, guys like that who seen everything back to 1930's

Kennewick Man: Both wins have to be Apple Cups, don't they? or maybe the one over Texas?
JeffMcQuarrie: One is an apple cup but it was a long time ago

COUGFANcom: Wasn't there a Cougar who was the fastest man in the world in his era? Understand if you can't give away the name, but what position did he play.
JeffMcQuarrie: Yes, we had the fastest man in the world. He only played for one year (1909, I think) and he was from'll come to me. Jack Nelson was the fastest man in the world. Ran a 9.6 in the 100.

bestcougr: What position did Jack Nelson play for the Cougs?
JeffMcQuarrie: Jack Nelson was a RB and did pretty well, but not spectacular.

YakiCoug: Did Jack Nelson letter? I don't see his name on the list in the media guide
JeffMcQuarrie: Maybe he didn't letter

Wazzu4288: When is this scheduled for release?
JeffMcQuarrie: September 2006. We're looking at a Seattle Premier around Sept 10. Please keep posted to my site: Any ideas on premiers in Tri Cities, Yakima, Wenatchee, Spokane, please call me later at 360-561-2676

theRabidCat: After reading the CF.C article on Johnny Bley I hope you devote sometime to some of the unsung studs of Cougar football.
JeffMcQuarrie: Johnny Bley is semi featured. I interviewed his son twice. John Jr lives here in Olympia

COUGFANcom: Will it also, or eventually, also be a 2-disc DVD?
JeffMcQuarrie: Yes, 2-disc with lots of bonus features

COUGFANcom: There's a Notify me link on Jeff's page for when then film is released and available for purchase, by the way
JeffMcQuarrie: yes, I'd appreciate it if everyone would go there and hit the notify me button

COUGFANcom: What was the interview with Steve Gleason like
JeffMcQuarrie: Steve Gleason: Very, very smart. Bookworm and thrill seeker. Very nice and unassuming

COUGFANcom: What was the hardest interview, or footage, to get.
JeffMcQuarrie: Drew Bledsoe...he's so busy. I had to bug Sonny Sixkiller a lot too. Don't be disappointed in me interviewing Sixkiller...I had my reasons and I hate the Huskies. Hardest footage: NFL Footage is $2,000 per minute, so I can't show any.

YakiCoug: Was there ever a moment (or moments) when you hit a real emotional point in making this?
JeffMcQuarrie: Yeah, I ran out of money and almost had to pack it in. Sold my Corvette to finance the rest. Crazy

Kennewick Man: what was Sixkiller like?
JeffMcQuarrie: Sixkiller...nice, but typical husky...bragging about how they go to their games on yachts...

billbradski: You asked earlier about premiers. Has there been discussions on an opening day premier in Pullman or over Seattle for the Seattle Game? There would be many Cougs interested in smaller openings in the cities you listed.
JeffMcQuarrie: I'm considering hiring a marketing team to handle all this cuz if I try to do it the movie won't get done in time...but yes, I'd like to have a premier in Pullman. Seattle is a definite.

COUGFANcom: Who were some of the funniest guys you talked to.
JeffMcQuarrie: Mark Fields. Erik Coleman was funny simply because he was so shy and nervous.

Wazzu4288: What would you consider your greatest motivation in making this film? (sorry if already asked)
JeffMcQuarrie: Nobody has asked: I had a job working for my fraternity's headquarters after college. I got to travel all over the country to most universities and I never saw school spirit like we have at WSU. Its easy to have school spirit when you have a huge budget and win all the time, but its more special to be the underdog and stick with your school through thick and thin.

Wazzu4288: Agreed
JeffMcQuarrie: A big part of the film is devoted to answering the question: What's with this love affair we have with our school and the football team?

YakiCoug: good question
bestcougr: the answer?
JeffMcQuarrie: You'll have to watch the's the only common question I asked all 100 interviewees, and I got some great answers...even some tears
YakiCoug: that's the hook I'm looking for

palanb: Hope you asked Jim Walden about the Love Affair.
JeffMcQuarrie: Yeah, he was a good interview. The players love that guy maybe more than any of the other coaches

theRabidCat: Don't want to put you on the spot, Jeff, but I've heard it's been a nightmare dealing with WSU on projects like these (well not exactly like this). How has WSU treated you as far as accessibility to archives, logo use, and percentage of receipts?
JeffMcQuarrie: WSU has helped me with photos and footage but unfortunately no financial help

theRabidCat: That sucks. It promotes the university, have you contacted any PBS stations? I think the Spokane PBS station would eat this up.
JeffMcQuarrie: Good idea Rabid Cat...can you email me later to remind me?

palanb: What's your connection with WSU (former student, fan, .....?)
JeffMcQuarrie: former student from the mid 1980's

COUGFANcom: Time to wrap it up... a couple more questions for Jeff...or Jeff, if you just want to relate one or two more great stories...
Wazzu4288: Thanks
YakiCoug: thanks for making this effort, Jeff. I have a feeling this is going to be one of those things we keep watching years down the road
Wazzu4288: Thanks Jeff, keep it Coug...
JeffMcQuarrie: Thanks everyone

Kennewick Man: PBS? I'd go straight to the mothership at KXLY
JeffMcQuarrie: KXLY has been AWESOME!!! Bud Nameck gave me tons of highlight footage. If you guys ever have a chance, please tell him he's the man
theRabidCat: Will do. I know someone at KREM also. I'll give you a shout, thanks for everything, Jeff!

JeffMcQuarrie: Quick story: there's some great music in this film and all the bands are from the NW....I was filming a music video in the wheat fields for this project and a farmers wife (Coug) brought me ice water, sandwiches and cookies cuz it was 100 degrees out. She didn't even know me. Typical Cougar love. Another character from the 1930s and 1940s was Babe Hollingbery's assistant coach, Buck Bailey. There's a good book called "Buck Bailey, The Making of a Legend" by Hoot Gibson and I believe it was published by WSU Press

billbradski: Thanks Jeff. I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished project in Sept.
theRabidCat: Gotta say, Jeff, you are the truest Coug I've come across!
JeffMcQuarrie: Thanks...but there's a lot out here, as you know...that's the real reason I'm making the film I better head out and see how my son's baseball game is going...thanks a lot everyone and thanks Cougfan

COUGFANcom: Jeff, thanks for all your insights. Thanks to everyone who participated! Don't forget to go to, sign up to be notified, and check out all the clips.

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