THE EARLY RACQUETBALL WORLD ACCORDING TO Smartie
The 70's racquetball beginning was a small world in San Diego. Charlie Brumfield introduced me to Bud Muehleisen, hence to racquetball and we all invented the z-ball and around-world ball. Bud Leech, founder of Leech Industries, handed me $50-a-week under a steak table. His was the larger of two existing racquet manufacturers, producing a dozen a week of the first fiberglass racquets. I lived with manager Charlie Drake, who married the ex-wife of Ektelon manager Doug Burns, the other manufacture of the first aluminum racquet. I moved in with Doug as Ektelon was making a couple dozens Muehleisen autograph racquets a week in a back yard. Brumfield's girlfriend, Jan Campbell, designed the Bandito - a Cisco Kid character in sombrero with a racquet in place of 6-gun - for Leech, and you might say he was the first national champ. I used the 311 gram Bandito racquet exclusively. The Bandito, plus Drake, and a Leech engineer, and pro (me) flew to Taiwan to get the ball rolling. Drake's brother, Bob, was a Mormon missionary there who arranged and interpreted meetings with Kunahn, president of Kunahn Industries, the world's largest overall racquet manufacturer. Kuhnan-Leech Company, processor of Pro-Kennex, was formed over a hot negotiation table surrounded by child laborers pumping out prototypes. The Bandito image was lost in the corporate takeovers, so don't get too attached to Smartie.