In the late Fifties, many American teenagers had two must-sees on television: Dick Clark's American Bandstand and Ozzie and Harriet, the latter solely because of Ricky Nelson. Face it, Dad Ozzie was kind of a dithering dud, whose most forceful scenes was when he said, "Well, gee, Thorny." And Mom Harriet was too good to be true -- and boring. Older brother David? He was the kid who made drying paint interesting. The Nelsons were a whitebread family from a whitebread age. But with his shy smile, clean-cut looks, and relaxed singing style, Ricky became a teenage heartthrob. We had known Ricky for many years, from the days when he was a geeky-looking pre-teen. By 1957, however, viewers saw a new Ricky -- one who could sing, play the drums, and (sort of) dance. By the time he became Rick Nelson, he had a much better handle on rock and roll and his whitebread days would soon be behind him.
From April 7, 1957, the episode titled "Ricky the Drummer":