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California Straight Ahead!
Directed byArthur Lubin
Written byHerman Boxer
Scott Darling
Produced byTrem Carr
StarringJohn Wayne
CinematographyHarry Neumann
Edited byCharles Craft
Erma Horsley
Universal Pictures
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • April 16, 1937 (1937-04-16) (United States)
Running time
67 minutes
CountryUnited States

California Straight Ahead! is a 1937 American action film about truck drivers starring John Wayne and directed by Arthur Lubin for Universal Pictures. The action movie features a memorable cross-country race between a caravan of trucks and a special train.[1]


A trucker named Biff Smith (Wayne) wins a contest between his caravan of trucks and a special train, the two competing against each other in a race to see who can deliver a load of aviation parts to an ocean liner before a labor strike takes place.



The film was known as Short Haul. John Wayne was meant to have made a film Maid of Orleans or Adventure's End but that was delayed due to the maritime strike. Universal then put him in Short Haul which was to have begun filming in November 1936.[2] However filming on that was delayed due to a teamsters strike.[3] It was to have been shot in San Francisco but that city had labor troubles so the script was rewritten so it could be shot in Los Angeles. Filming eventually took place in January 1937.[4]

The movie was the first in a series of films directed by Arthur Lubin starring John Wayne.[5]

Lubin recalled, "We had six days to shoot. There was no time schedule, as there is today, where if you go late at night or start early in the morning, you have to pay more. In those days, you could shoot twenty-four hours a day."[6]


The Los Angeles Times called it a "fair supporting feature".[7]

See also


  1. ^ "California Straight Ahead". Monthly Film Bulletin. 4 (37). London. Jan 1, 1937. p. 78.
  2. ^ DOUGLAS W. CHURCHILL (Nov 15, 1936). "VIEWING THE HOLLYWOOD RUSHES". New York Times. p. X5.
  3. ^ "Miss Graves Breaks Betrothal; Will Bans Marriage as Minor". Chicago Daily Tribune. Nov 27, 1936. p. 17.
  4. ^ "HELEN JEPSON SIGNS FOR SERIES OF FILMS AT GRAND NATIONAL". Los Angeles Times. Jan 8, 1937. p. 10.
  5. ^ Vagg, Stephen (14 September 2019). "The Cinema of Arthur Lubin". Diabolique Magazine.
  6. ^ Levy, Emanuel (June 12, 2006). "Adventure's End: John Wayne's Feature, Directed by Arthur Lubin". Emanuellevy.
  7. ^ Schallert, Edwin (Apr 8, 1937). "Spectacular Musical Film Opens". Los Angeles Times. p. 14.