In the episode titled "Ricky the Drummer" young Ricky got to sit in with an orchestra. In the two-minute segment after the last commercial came the innocent suggestion:
Nobody (other than Ozzie) thought much about it after the broadcast. The next day the phones rang off the hook, mailbags piled up against the door, and girls lined up at the Stage Five gate. The record sold three thousand copies in the first three days and stayed on the charts for five months, selling more than 700,000 copies.
Ozzie: How about Rick singing a rhythm and blues tune and the rest of us will give him a little moral support?
Bandleader: Good deal. What do you want to sing?
Ricky: How about 'I'm Walkin'?
Bandleader: Fine, I'll make the announcement.
Harriet: Do you think it's all right for him to sing too?
Ozzie: Oh sure, it's great experience for him.
The first live performance Ricky did was with the Four Preps at a lunch-time assembly at Hamilton High School. The Preps did a couple tunes and then Rick came out. The girls started screaming. "Chaos, fucking chaos," said one of the Preps. "It's so loud we can hardly hear ourselves...the girls left their seats and came rushing down to the front. It was forty or fifty deep up each aisle of girls, just screaming. I think we did one song and half of another...We open the back of the auditorium to get to our car, and you can't even see the car, just people...I look at Rick, and he's got this look on his face, like 'Holy shit, that was really exciting. Wow,' he says. 'Does that always happen that way?' 'No, Rick,' I said."
Hit followed hit and Rick surrounded himself with the best rockabilly songwriters from Memphis like the brothers Johnny and Dorsey Burnette. Ozzie hired James Burton as lead guitar and invited him to move into the house so he and Ricky could jam 24 hours a day. Ricky was happy to have some relief from the show. He loved the music. He was beginning to create a sound of his own. He met Elvis at a party. Elvis said, "Hey, I never miss your shows except if I'm on the road. How's your mama and daddy? Did David come too?" Ricky's rock and roll pumped new life into "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet."
In 1958 Elvis got drafted and Ricky's "Poor Little Fool" went to number one, making him the uncontested leading teen idol in America. He joined John Wayne, Dean Martin and Walter Brennan in Howard Hawks' western, "Rio Bravo."
David got into trapeze work, and Ricky joined him.They learned enough stunts to perform in a real circus. For a few months Rick studied bullfighting, then flamenco guitar. Then it was horses for a while. But the hits kept on coming.