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 feet 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 from 10am to 7pm at the Hut café across the street from us, and the owner taught me to wait on tables, cook 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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Another Story about my Dad
by: Laura O'Siggind

Here is another story about my dad.

When Hubert Humphrey came to Anchorage, we were invited to the President's suite at the top of a hotel where we were treated with Hubert personally serving us cookies and tea; this was because my grandmother served him cookies and tea back in Minnesota when he first was running for congress, I think.

I have lost my photo of all of us together, and it may have made it into the news, so if anyone happens to have a copy I would love it.

The second part of the story is not too becoming of my dad. Let me start off by saying that he stopped drinking when he was diagnosed with terminal leukemia in his 40s and lived to be 76.

A Note from Anchorage Memories


We have made the necessary corrections to your story.

Thank you for your updates.

Memories when Dad made this Album
by: Laura O'Siggins

First of all, thanks to those who have responded with their memories of my dad's record.

Here is a little history of dad:

He moved us around a lot, about 12 times before I turned 7 when my parents separated.

My favorite time, which happened often, was when mom wanted to go see dad play. We were not allowed in nightclubs. Mark was 2 years older than me, but dad figured a way to hide us behind the piano. But I think we had to stop because I peeked out from behind the piano too much.

Dad moved to Laguna Beach, then Santa Barbara, then to Alaska.

When he lived in Talkeetna, he used to go camping in the Wrangell mountains with John Denver and his band.

I have 5 hrs of tape of one of those trips, as well as my dad's lute instrument with John Denver's signature.

Not sure what year, but I think it was the late 70s when he moved to Maui, Hawaii and married for the 6th or 7th time.

He later moved to Kauai and married again.

In 1981, he moved to where I lived in the state of Washington, and I got to enjoy hearing him play at open mikes in Olympia.

Then he moved to Australia to the most hippy town of, Nimbin. He loved it there and played piano and scrabble with the towns people up to his death in

He did make a short DVD that is very funny.

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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