Lawrencine May “Lorrie” Collins was born May 7, 1942, in Tahlequah, Okla., with Lawrence “Larry” Collins following in 1944. Talented from early childhood—Lorrie won a talent contest at age 8—they started a musical duo, with Larry playing guitar—as early as age 10 he was considered something of a whiz on the instrument—and the pair singing in harmony. As rock ’n’ roll came into vogue, the Collins Kids relocated to Southern California and adapted easily, making an impression locally via television and TV—particularly on the Town Hall Party program, beginning in 1954, and the syndicated version of the show, called Tex Ritter’s Ranch Party (1957-59).
From some Rick Nelson liner notes:
Among the ‘Town Hall Party’ regulars was Joe Maphis, a fleet-fingered guitarist who performed with his singing wife, Rose Lee. In addition to performing on the TV show, Maphis made records under his own name, and played on numerous country and pop recording sessions. One act with whom Maphis recorded regularly was The Four Preps.
“Ricky had admired Maphis' playing on ‘Town Hall Party’,” says Larry Collins, Maphis' then 12-year-old protege, “and, he wanted to meet Lorrie.
“He didn’t have Elvis’s voice,” Larry continues. “But he had the looks and the television show, and he started hanging around with musical people. Believe me, Lorrie did her part in encouraging him and giving him self-confidence.”
“Ricky asked [the Four Preps'] Glen Larson to introduce us,” says Lorrie Collins, “so they came out to a broadcast one night. I didn’t know that he was remotely interested in music -- ‘I’m Walkin’ came out right after he met me. He was very, very shy; very insecure at that point with his music. He was so new to it, and the people he was working with were so seasoned.
“I think one of the reasons he wanted to meet me, and one of the reasons we were attracted to one another, was that he wanted to do what we were doing. All the entertainers who played at Town Hall wound up at our house in the San Fernando Valley, and he spent a lot of time there.” Seventeen-year-old Ricky and Lorrie, then fifteen, became an “item,” with Larry, she says, accompanying them as chaperon on their dates. She even appeared on at least one “Adventures” episode, dueting Just Because with Ricky.