The Flip Side Of
Peter Dana show

by Laura O'Siggins

Dad's Talkeetna Sign

Dad's Talkeetna Sign

My dad hosted a show back in 1967 or 68. It was either called “The Flip Side of Peter Dana” or “The Peter Dana show”.

My dad was an entertainer, a self-taught piano player, and back in the 60s in southern California, he played with Louie Armstrong, and many other blues singers.

He was a comedian and folk singer and the name of his album was, “The Flip Side of Peter Dana”. It had an intro done by Doodles Weaver.

Dad moved to Anchorage after spending 2 years in Vietnam where he learned Vietnamese fluently. He spoke 7 languages fluently and sang in 21 languages.

In 1969, my mom, my brother and I moved up to join him in Anchorage and in June 1970, he moved us to a tiny cabin in Talkeetna. (Back then the population was “75 counting the dogs.”) My dad bought the cabin for $5 and back taxes. It had no water or electricity and the ceiling was probably only 5 or 6 ft high. To move around, we took all the floorboards out and dug down about a foot and put in a new floor.

We took our showers at the Fairview Inn and retrieved water there as well. The outhouse was rickety and, as I remember, had big black spiders in the summer. So an old coffee can is what I used at night.

Dad entertained at “Evil Alice's A-framed bar” and he and my brother Mark started Talkeetna's first garbage hauling business.

Dad made the wooden sign that is seen in many pictures of Talkeetna. It reads, “Welcome to Beautiful Talkeetna, Alaska”.

Mark, my brother, and dad both stayed in Talkeetna for another decade before moving to Oregon.

Mom and I both worked as waitresses to earn money to go to Oregon to live with friends because we did not like living in such a small town without running water or electricity.

Mom worked at the Double A frame bar or restaurant, and she often had black bears rummaging through garbage cans on the street and was frightened as there were no streetlights. I was 13 and worked 10am to 7pm at the Hurt café across the street from us, and the owner taught me to wait on tables, cook the burgers, make fries etc. While I worked, she would sip on her whiskey and when she ran out, she would write notes for me to be able to run to the Roadhouse and pick up a fifth of whiskey for her. At least that is what I remember.

I have plenty of rich memories of that summer, enough to fill many journals.

Sadly, both my father, my brother, and my mom, have all passed away.

If anyone knows how I can get copies of my dad's shows and, or if anyone has any stories or memories of my family, I would love to hear from you!

Laura (Olson) O'Siggins

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Peter Dana show

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Swimming In The Same Pond
by: Paul Johnson

The memory of your Father has stuck with me since I met him at Dale & Sonia Mooreman's cabin at Big Lake back in the early '70s.

They had him performing at their original Anchorage Piano Bar, The Chef's Inn.

That was back in the day when everyone in Alaska was family, and we spent our fair share of time up at Evil Alice's too. At any rate, he was one of the funniest, most creative people I've ever had the pleasure to meet.

I'm 61 now and Mom, Dad and Dale have all passed.

Sonia is still kicking over on the East Coast. Just last weekend we were sitting in our little cabin near Cantwell and I couldn't help but belt out "The Man Who Never Returned" followed by your Dad's version of "Amore". My lovely Bride was amazed and amused, "Where do you come up with that stuff?" That's not me, it's a man named Peter Dana, the funniest man I ever met.

My Step Father (in So. Cal now) has the album somewhere, but I'm looking for a copy too.

Thanks for sharing. Those were the days!

Now I Know
by: Bill Reed

I bought Dana's album unheard quite some time ago, liked it, but was unable to find a scrap of info on the who, why, what and how re: Dana until this post.

Always felt he deserved at least some recognition. Now, with your post I can finally get some sleep.

It fits
by: Frances Wolfe

I knew Pete.

Loved his sign on his garbage truck "satisfaction guaranteed or double your garbage back".

I also sewed up his hand when he cut it quite deeply. Listened to his music at Alice's.

Fond memories.

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