Miracle Mile

Institute History


A young man sits on the guard rail at the edge of a Los Angeles freeway. He has just learned of his father’s death. He fights back tears as he realizes he is finally free to tell the story his father could never tell…

Beverly Hills, California, 1948. Bill Anderson is a proud, hard working father. Marion Anderson, his loving wife, is a devoted mother. They are living in an idyllic suburban 1950’s existence. They have kindly neighbors who are always ready to help them out in a pinch, and two beautiful twin boys who will grow up to be the talk of the town. Everyone knows the Anderson boys. John is the captain of the basketball team, and Jim an all-league pitcher. After school they work by their father’s side at his new tire shop. They are Bill’s most shining accomplishment. There is nothing in the world he wouldn’t do for them.

As the story proceeds, the glistening veneer of June Cleaver’s high gloss linoleum begins to fade, and we learn more about Bill Anderson—a dedicated father who beats his sons into manhood, a respected businessman who would stab anyone in the back to get ahead.

Bill owns a modestly successful tire shop which supplies his family with all they need. But he has greater aspirations. He wants to make his sons proud; he wants to create an empire of tire stores. To make this dream come true, Bill makes a covert deal with a major automobile manufacturer. He agrees to act as a front company that will use the auto manufacturer’s money to acquire and destroy the remnants of Los Angeles’ once vast electric railway system, thereby speeding along the rising supremacy of the automobile. It is a scheme that is as appealing to an upstart tire salesman as it is to a giant automobile company. But when Bill discovers that his best friend and neighbor controls the remaining interest in the railway system, he begins to realize he can’t live up to his end of the bargain.

As the pressure from the car company increases, Bill’s wheelings and dealings become more transparent, and his abusive nature more prominent. Finally, on the brink of foreclosure and humiliation, he commits a desperate and despicable act in the name of his sons for whose love and respect he has fought so hard.

The young man who tells this story is Bill’s grandson Will. As he looks out over the gridlocked urban freeway of modern-day Los Angeles, he reaches back through a history that he never witnessed but somehow knows only too well. Telling this story is his attempt to reveal the brutal legacy of the 1950’s manhood that was beaten into his father, and to finally confront the grandfather whose ruthless ambition forever altered the city of Los Angeles.


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