Film company "Rainbow Productions" founder Dirk Wales, 89, in Nov.
(too old to reply)
2020-12-30 14:44:39 UTC
Somehow, I never wrote a birthday post for him in 2011.


Most of it:

In true dramatic fashion, on November 27th Dirk Wales moved on to his next great adventure. He was 89 years young.
Dirk was born in New York City and raised in California. He studied theatre at UCLA, which launched him first into TV and then into advertising. Never one to follow convention, he left his successful advertising career and at age 41 founded Rainbow Productions, a film company that he led to great acclaim. Always full of boundless creativity, at age 72 he wrote his first children's book – Owney, a Lucky Dog – that has gone on to be a best seller.
But for Dirk, what he did was not as important has how he did it. He believed completely in the possible and never let a little thing like reality get in the way. He pushed the limits of film-making, photography, and writing. He inspired others to try new things, encouraged others to take risks, and was generous in helping others to have new experiences. He was a talented and creative force of energy and ideas with a gargantuan laugh and brightened any room he walked into. He was truly a lucky dog.
Dirk is survived by his three children; Dirk O. Wales (Linda), Jessica W. Pugil, and Stacey W. Evenson (Jeff) and seven grandchildren. We will always remember the wonderful experiences we had with him. ...
2020-12-30 14:49:19 UTC
This is amusing.


From the dog who liked mailmen to unlikely revolutionary heroes, Santa Fe’s Dirk Wales brought American legends to new audiences.

The lifelong storyteller, best known for children’s books he wrote later in life, died in November from natural causes.

He was 89.

“He had an unending enthusiasm for his subjects and delighted at sharing his books with children and adults,” said Dorothy Massey, owner of Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse downtown. “His personality shone through his writing.”

Wales grew up in California and said last year in an interview on the Your Positive Impact podcast he attended theater school at UCLA for $18 a semester. After college, he wrote scripts for national advertising campaigns for marketing firms in Cincinnati and Chicago.

In 1981, at the age of 41, he started his own film company, Rainbow Productions, which specialized in educational films for schools, museums and pharmaceutical companies.

The studio made dozens of films, some warning doctors about the dangers of addiction and those who overdosed on their own anesthesia.

“He started his own company so he could be a little bit more creative trying new things,” said daughter Stacey W. Evenson.

Wales, an avid photographer, began living in Santa Fe part time in the 1993 and enjoyed stopping by art galleries on the drive to Taos. Evenson, herself a producer, traveled with her father to Washington, on business in the mid-1990s when they visited the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.

“My dad is fascinated with mail and postage stamps. Almost everywhere we go, he always stopped at a post office to get interesting and colorful stamps,” Evenson said.

At the museum, Wales first learned of Owney, a scruffy, photogenic mutt who lived at a post office in Albany, N.Y., in the late 19th century and became the subject of Wales’ first children’s book, A Lucky Dog: Owney, U.S. Rail Mail Mascot, published in 2003.

“I think his story is in every postal and railroad museum in the country,” said Nancy Reid, who managed Great Plains Press, Wales’ publisher. “He had always been a writer, so it was his first children’s book but a story he was well suited to write.”

At a time when train wrecks were common, Owney avoided havoc and was considered a good luck charm. According to the museum, railway mail clerks across the country bestowed him with medals and tags on his collar. Once they became too heavy, the postmaster general ordered a harness for Owney to display them all.

Wales also wrote a children’s book about Thaddeus Kosciuszko and Casimir Pulaski, Polish American heroes of the American Revolution, as well as books on love and mystery. With illustrations by Barry Moser, who won the 1983 American Book Award for Design and Illustration for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Wales published Jack London’s Dog, inspired by Call of the Wild, in 2008.

Despite his many tales about canines, he never was much of a dog lover, according to his daughter.

“He loved cats. His favorite thing was cats,” she said. “He never had dogs.”
2020-12-30 14:59:22 UTC
(a bit about the company)

...Rainbow Productions was founded by Dirk Wales in 1972 in Chicago as a non-theatrical film production company. Rainbow Productions created educational, documentary, and sponsored films on subjects ranging from vandalism to addiction prevention and diabetes. Specializing in medical education, Rainbow made more than 80 films on the subject of anesthesia. Clients included Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories, Squibb Pharma, and Baxter Laboratories, among others. Filmmakers including Jim Morrissette, Gordon Quinn and Jerry Blumenthal, who would later go on to work with Kartemquin Films, worked on Rainbow Productions projects over the years...



...Dirk was born in New York city and raised in California. He studied theatre at UCLA, where he learned how to be an actor, writer, script writer, set designer, director, producer, storyteller, gaffer, etc., and did sixteen plays a year where he won best director’s award for two plays that he wrote.

This launched him first into TV and then into advertising. Never one to follow convention, he left his successful advertising career and at age 41 founded Rainbow Productions, a film company he started in Chicago which he led to great acclaim. He made Museum films, Educational films as well as physician education/marketing films/video for multinational pharma companies. He has won 124 National and International Film Festival Awards....
2020-12-30 15:16:26 UTC

First lines:

"I have been fortunate to work and travel throughout the United States and Europe; I am a successful children’s book author (A Lucky Dog and others) and, most important, I have heroes who have inspired me like Joseph Cornell, Camille Claudel and Duane Michaels. Cornell invented box art for the world, Camille Claudel was, well, just an amazing person when women weren’t supposed to be amazing and Duane Michaels taught me how to combine words and pictures.

"So, the first of my serious art work was Numbers, initially photographed in Europe..."

(long article about his books from 2016)

(nice long autobiographical piece from 2019)


"Growing up my parents didn’t encourage reading so I never really did any reading of books until I was in my thirties."

(reader reviews)

(video of Wales talking about A Lucky Dog)
2020-12-30 15:34:28 UTC
(Kirkus review of Jack London's Dog)

(podcast clip from 2019 - it's under five minutes; he talks about his fourth novel)

(short video of Wales talking about filming with Gordon Quinn and Jerry Blumenthal - there are photos of those two at the end)

(read-aloud of A Lucky Dog)

(short interview from 2009)