The buzz around Iredell County is the pending filming of the movie "Leatherheads", starring George Clooney and Renee Zellweger. Locations in Statesville and Salisbury, North Carolina are being scouted for scenes in the movie. The local paper is advertising for extras needed in the movie and are planning auditions at a local mall.
But who knew the bus garage would be called and asked to participate in the movie without even auditioning!
The oldest employee, "Betsy" as she is affectionately named, was contacted to appear in the movie. Betsy is a 1931 model Chevrolet school bus that was brought to Iredell County back in the mid 70's. A group of mechanics had previously restored a 1940 model Thomas bus (which Thomas Built Buses now keeps) that had been sitting in the back lot of the Iredell garage since its last official run to the NCPTA conference at Carolina Beach in the 1970’s. Someone in Raleigh had heard of another old bus sitting at the state fair grounds with its wooden body rotting down. A call was made to J.B. Lundy, the Iredell bus garage Supervisor at the time, and asked if he would be interested in restoring a 31 model school bus.
He sent two mechanics with a wrecker to Raleigh to bring it back. They hooked to it and started back down the interstate where at some point the driver looked back just as the rear door went sliding off the side of the interstate. The rebuild was probably a large undertaking at the least. But after time, several new wooden boards, a fresh coat of orange, silver and black paint and loving care from three mechanics, (Robert Boggs, Sr. who's son Rob Jr. now works at the garage, James Harris and Clyde Galliher Jr.) "Betsy" came back to life and still lives in Iredell County.
She attended the NCPTA conference held in Winston-Salem a few years ago, occasional parades in the county, heritage days at various Iredell schools, the opening of the transportation museum in Raleigh and now her debut in a movie!
We are all proud for her and know she will do Iredell proud!
“Betsy” a 1931 Chevrolet, looks good outside her home garage in Statesville, NC.
Back then bus garages needed carpenters, not mechanics. Betsy’s body is mostly wood.
Where is the STOP ARM & WARNING LIGHTS?
Bus passengers must have been much smaller in 1931.
Betsy heads to Hollywood! (well, okay…South Carolina where she will make her big screen debut).
This 1940 model used to serve kids in Iredell Co. Now on display at Thomas bus Co. in High Point.
Betsy is not the first NC bus to show up on the big screen. Pictured here is a 1960 model Chatham Co. bus that appeared in “Hearts in Atlantis”
Hopefully these folks will not bother Betsy too much for an autograph. Her agent, Terry Campbell, shop supervisor at the Iredell garage, is hoping the other actors in the film will respect Betsy’s privacy.