My Baylor Roommate Dick Kendall

Edgar's picture
Tumbleweed Smith
Part Owner of Texas

Dick Kendall was my roommate at Baylor. After graduation and a stint in the Air Force he did chamber of commerce work in Big Spring, Colorado City and San Angelo. Then he got into banking, specializing in training bank employees all over the country. As a sideline he did comedy and became a professional, doing standup on cruise ships and at the Riviera in Las Vegas.

We went to se him in Las Vegas when he performed at the Riviera for the first time. He was excited because there was a billboard advertising his show. But his name was misspelled. It read Dick Crandall. When we got to Dick’s hotel and met him in the lobby I was holding a sign reading Dick Crandall.

Dick got his start in comedy at an early age. “Phil Harris came out with a record called THE DARKTOWN POKER CLUB and I memorized that when I was 6 or 7 years old. I remember sitting on the front porch doing that for my granddad and he just roared. He thought that was so funny that his grandson could do that. And I could always make my mother laugh. She was my first and best audience.”

Dick attended Milby High School in Houston. It’s where he got his start on stage. “I had a drama teacher who saw some potential in me. He decided the annual spring show would be all mime, with student actors lip-synching various records and things. He had these big production numbers and in between acts he would have little skits so they could change the stage. He got me to do THE MAN ON THE FLYING TRAPEZE by Spike Jones. I lip-synched that. We found a part of the old theater curtain that had a big M on it. I wore that for a cape. I wasn’t Superman; I was just Man. I found some of my mother’s old long pink underwear and wore that. I performed and the audience just fell apart. It was the first thing I had really gotten excited about. I spent a lot of time rehearsing that; I bet it was 30 or 40 hours of pure practice. When I got into it and got that audience reaction I was hooked. To make people laugh was just the most fun thing that I had ever done in my life.”

When Dick was at Baylor in the mid-fifties he had a 1929 Model A. He paid $27.99 for it. “It had wooden floor boards with a rubber mat over them but the mat was long gone and one of the floor boards was missing so you could watch the street go by as you drove over it. Once I had a date on a cold night in the dead of winter and the girl was so excited to get to wear her beautiful long fur coat. She needed it because the wind came up from that hole in the floor. I never did get another date with her.”

The clutch on the car stopped working just as Dick was going away for the weekend. He parked it on a Waco street. When he came back on Monday the police had impounded it and Dick called about it. He was told it would cost $25 dollars to get his car back. Dick said, “Why don’t you just keep it. That’s almost the price I paid for it.”

His senior year Dick bought a 1947 Buick Convertible with electric rollup windows for $99. He drove around campus with the top down rolling the windows up and down.

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