He was born in 1932 in Moscow, Soviet Union to a Jewish family. In 1941 his mother and he were evacuated to Ural mountains, where they remained till 1944. In 1950 he was admitted to the Moscow Aeronautic Institute, and graduated with an engineering degree in 1955. During his studies he and a classmate started writing sketches and directing institute amateur performances. They quickly assembled a group of students around them, and continued to write for them after graduation. In 1963 Kandel quit his military job and became a professional freelance writer. He wrote plays, scripts for motion pictures, and published (with co-authors Eduard Uspensky, Grigory Gorin, and Arkady Arkanov) two books of short stories. His works were published by Literaturnaya Gazeta, Yunost', Novi Mir and other prestigious literary journals in Moscow. In 1965-66 he worked as an editor in the short documentaries almanac "Fitil'!", but then became a free-lance writer again. In 1967, Felix Kamov, Arkadiy Khait, and Alexander Kurlandsky began writing scripts for the animated series Nu, pogodi!, directed by Vyacheslav Kotenochkin of the Soyuzmultfilm studio. From the very beginning, this became the most recognized animated series in the former Soviet Union, and later in the Eastern European countries. Today, it is hard to find a person in these countries, who would not recognize the wolf character from the series.