with Todd Gould
Todd Gould, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, is the producer of Indiana's Basketball Cathedral - Hinkle Fieldhouse, a film on the storied Butler home court that debuted last week on ESPN and will be rebroadcast each month for the rest of 2006.
Q: What made you want to do a documentary on Hinkle?
A: I've always been a basketball "junkie," brought up from the days when my grandfather was a three-sport coach in a high school for decades in southern Illinois, much like Tony Hinkle was a three-sport coach at Butler for decades. I could really relate to that. As well, Hinkle Fieldhouse was this iconic structure that - at one time - towered alone in the middle of a cornfield while the new Butler campus was being built and came to represent the place where champions went to play.
Q: What was the most surprising thing you learned while doing the documentary?
A: We in Indiana always like to claim the game of basketball as our own special pastime ("In 49 states, it's just a game ..."). But I was never really sure if that rang true outside of our state borders. But looking at some of the national newsreel footage from the late 1940s and early 1950s, the state high school basketball tournament at Butler Fieldhouse was seen as truly sensational, and received attention in the national press in New York and Philadelphia, as well. Witnessing film footage of the throngs of fans flooding into the gates, packing the cheering blocks, crowding the press row, gave me a real flavor for the atmosphere those games must have once offered ... an excitement that extends beyond the game on the court.
Q: How hard was it to get access to the big names who appear in the show?
A: Not difficult. This wasn't a terribly controversial topic. Most have wonderful memories of playing in Hinkle Fieldhouse or playing for coach Hinkle. He was universally respected. It was mostly a matter of working into their busy schedules. But Oscar Robertson, John Wooden, Bobby Plump, George McGinnis, Bob "Slick" Leonard, Sen. Bill Bradley, Hallie Bryant and many, many others all seemed very willing to talk about their special memories of Hinkle.
Q: What is your next documentary project?
A: I actually have three in the works right now that are very exciting. One I can mention quickly is a project with the Indiana Historical Society on the history of the Civil War in Indiana. Some pretty terrific stories there. The documentary will be debuting as part of their new History Train exhibit late this year.