Allan McCollum was born in Los Angeles, California, on August 4, 1944. In 1946, his family moved to Redondo Beach, California, where his three siblings were born, and where he lived until 1966. Both of his parents and many others in his family were active in the arts. His father, Warren McCollum, the son of an actress in New York and a child actor himself, performed a number of small parts on the Broadway stage, and a few small roles in movies in the late 1930s and early 1940s, including the role of “Jimmy Lane” in the 1938 cult classic, Reefer Madness; he remained active in local theater groups throughout much of his life, while working as a security guard at a local research corporation. His mother, Ann Hinton, daughter of a piano teacher and a cartographer, also performed regularly as an actress and singer in local theater productions, and as a piano accompanist to a local voice teacher. His mother’s brother, Sam Hinton, was a well-known folk singer and folk music historian in Southern California, and her sister’s husband was Jon Gnagy, the popular television art instructor who between 1946 and 1970 had the longest continuously running show on television.