Richard Mc Morran was born September 24, 1934. His family originally lived in the tiny Colorado town of Dolores; a scenic hamlet of only about 550 residents. Yet small as it was, Dolores had a little poolroom in the center of town, and the game quickly caught Dick’s interest. There were no age restrictions in Dolores at that time, but when Dick skipped school to play one day, the town was too small for his parents not to find out, and after a “real good whipping,” that was it for pool for a while.
When he was a fourteen year old freshman in high school his family moved 50 miles east, to Durango, Colorado, and “My life as a serious pool player began,” says Dick. With a population of about 10,000 at that time, “I thought I’d died, and gone to heaven. Durango supported three bustling pool rooms, and my parents soon gave up trying to keep me out of them.” The sting of the memory of his earlier whipping still kept him out of the poolrooms on school days however, but, “On weekends and summer vacations, I opened and closed the place,” recalls Dick.
Pretty quickly Dick developed into a good local player and by the time he was about 16, he was considered the best player in town. In Durango at that time, the popular games were Kelly Pool and Golf on a 5×10 snooker table, which is where the bigger money changed hands.
Dick and his pregnant girlfriend eloped at 19 and moved to Salt Lake City, Utah for a couple of years, which was another step up from Durango in the pool world, but after a couple of years he had “run out of action there,” and they moved on to San Jose, CA in 1955. As Dick tells it, “San Jose was really booming, and the poolrooms and bars were full of construction workers with fat paychecks lining up to play $2 or $5 ring 9-ball. Coin operated bar tables were just starting to show up, but a lot of bars still had at least one 8 or 9-footer in it, and also there were hundreds of poolrooms throughout the Bay Area, and each one seemed to have its local hero…I was pretty sure I’d found a place to settle down.”
San Jose was only 50 miles from San Francisco, where the legendary poolrooms the Palace and Cochran’s were located. “I used to go up there about every other weekend.” As he matured as a player and gambler, it was here that Dick went from being the ‘Durango Kid’ to ‘San Jose Dick’.
For a few years around ’61 or ’62 he was part owner of a small poolroom in San Jose called Circus Billiards and it was there that he first met Ronnie Allen. It was another great young player – Richie Florence – that first came through and challenged Dick, but Dick was able to take advantage of his extra experience to defeat the teenager. Richie came back a week later with Ronnie. That was the first time the two long time friends and combatants bumped heads, and his first real introduction to the game of One Pocket. They also played Golf on the snooker table, which was Dick’s best game at the time.
In the late 60’s Dick moved to Fort Worth, and then on to Houston, Texas, where he and Jersey Red became kind of a house pros at the Le Cue – the owner paid them $125/week to make the Le Cue their home room. That’s when he really got proficient at One Pocket. He and Billy Stroud went to Johnston City one year, but their car broke down in Kansas, so they got there too late to get into the tournament.
After Dick got married a second time, Dick gave up the game nearly completely and worked for UPS from ’74 to ’89. When he started back up he couldn’t bend over due to back/neck problems, so had to adopt a more upright stance, but he soon got his game back and probably played his best One Pocket. Dick appears in one Accustats video from Grady’s 1998 World One Pocket Championships in Baton Rouge, LA, where he wins a close one over Cliff Joyner (1P98-02).