The Wickenburg Sun
Best-selling Author Proves to Be A Somebody
by Kirk McKnight
November 30, 2022
Considering her book, A Nobody in a Somebody World: My Hollywood Life in Beverly Hills, started with a promise and a buckled knee at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, best-selling author Lorraine Brodek’s journey has certainly comprised more than the 10-mile hike out of one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Brodek, who, along with her husband, Tom, has worked in film and television from Germany to Phoenix, compiled many life experiences into her recently re-released book, including the one that started it all alongside friend and famous humorist Erma Bombeck.
“Erma came up with this fabulous idea that we should go down the Bright Angel Trail,” said Brodek. “We’re trekking at the bottom, the sand is hot, there’s no shade, it’s the middle of August, and the next thing I know, Erma’s knees buckle, and she is down for the count. I try to go and help her, and then I cave. I said, ‘Erma, you’ve got to write about this,’ and she said, ‘No. You’re going to write about it.’ She’s the one who put the bug in my ear about writing. She made me promise not to write until she died, which took a while. Thank God.”
Prior to her career in writing, Brodek came to Arizona in the early ’70s and eventually helped build public television’s presence in the area.
“AET (Arizona Educational Television) only had one program on, and that was Sesame Street,” said Brodek. “Tom became the chairman, I became chairman of the volunteers, and we started from scratch to try and raise funds to get the public television station out of a trailer and into a building. Our legal was Sandra Day O’Connor. We started with five chairs, a cafeteria table and those God forsaken phones where you’re calling in for $15. I loved being part of channel eight here and it see it go from being a trailer with one show a week to being 24/7. I always believe in giving back to the community in which you’re living. We did that in Hawaii as well. You’re moving into a new area, and you’re the new kid in town. What can you do to give back?”
Marketing being yet another facet of Brodek’s richly storied background, the author, during the late ’80s, gave back in the form of one of merchandising’s most historically recognizable images.
“When I was head of Direct Marketing for Warner Brothers, the team I was working with was terrific,” said Brodek. “By the luck of the draw, I happened to be there for the creation of the first Batman. I was literally in charge of getting those Batman t-shirts with that gold logo. Truthfully, that was the first time a merchandise product preceded the movie and led the charge for people. That t-shirt drove that movie and kept it going. The kids went nuts, and they were all sold out and wanted immediate replacements. People coming to the premiere were wearing those t-shirts.”
With decades worth of these life experiences “in the can,” Brodek was able to incorporate the help of her friend and Pulitzer-prize winning columnist for the L.A. Times, the late Al Martinez. Brodek said, “Al started on me and said, ‘Lo, you’ve got to write a book. These stories are priceless. I’m going to help you.’ So, he got me started, became the editor for the book and kept on me. He was more of a cheerleader.”
Unbeknownst to Brodek when the book originally came out, the publisher itself would provide a story worthy of its re-release, which is now available for sale.
“My book was published by Tate Publishing out of Oklahoma,” Brodek said. “I flew back to see how legit they were, and it was a huge operation. Really well done. They had the artists and the editors in-house, all in different buildings. I was impressed. I signed with them, and the book took off. All of a sudden, my royalties started going down, which happens. I got a phone call, and it was the Oklahoma Press. They said, ‘Lo, you’re not going to believe this. The owners of Tate have been arrested.’ In publishing, you own the copyright, but you don’t own the ISBN (International Standard Book Number). They do. That’s why I had to revise my book; go through and add new material, make it a new book with a new cover. That’s how I got to the point where I am.”
After “60 years together and still above snakes” with Tom, Brodek recognizes the importance of her role as conduit of her life’s story to its cornucopia of potentially interested audiences. “All those experiences come in together like spokes on a wheel, and you’re at the center of the wheel,” Brodek said. “These different rails come in and you can form it. I’ve got to talk while I still can and know my name. You want to get this out there before they’re lost.”
Brodek will be doing a book signing for the “Holiday Shop & Sip Boutique for Cancer Research” this Sunday (Dec. 4) from 3-5 p.m. at 3886 Ridge Runner Way (Wickenburg Ranch).
Brodek is a Wickenburg resident and author of the award-winning book, “A Nobody in a Somebody World; My Hollywood Life in Beverly Hills,” which can be found on Amazon.