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Greyhound Scenicruiser – About that Trailways Scenicruiser

Trailways Scenicruiser in Greyhound colors, from the 1992 movie "That Night", starring Juliette Lewis.

Trailways Scenicruiser in Greyhound colors, from the 1992 movie “That Night”, starring Juliette Lewis.

In his book of remembrances on the road, “Square Wheels on the Interstate”, veteran Trailways driver emeritus, Robert J. Beard, tells the rest of the story on what appears to be one of the only Trailways Scenicruisers in existence.

The bus, which belonged to one Pete Brenenstuhl, is shown parked on location for the movie, “That Night”. Based on the novel by Alice McDermott, this 1992 romantic drama written and directed by Craig Bolotin, starred C. Thomas Howell and Juliette Lewis, and tells the story of a young girl coming of age in Long Island in the early 1960s.

According to Beard, the set crew first painted this vintage Scenicruiser in the authentic Greyhound colors complete with lettering and the iconic running greyhound. However, the plan changed suddenly when the director failed to get the okay from Greyhound to use the company name and logo.

Beard writes in his book, Working quickly in fading light, crew members removed the dogs, covered the other markings and numbering, and instead lettered TRAILWAYS BUS LINES on both sides of the bus.

To true diehard bus aficionados and Greyhound drivers then and now, this competitive signage on a beloved Scenicruiser must come across as an absolute sacrilege.

But as Beard says, at one time or another everyone has been told, “Hey, it’s just a movie.”

Sample chapter from “Square Wheels on the Interstate”:

It was while working with Pete Brenenstuhl that Pete got a call for his Scenicruiser. A film company doing a shoot in northern Maryland needed an early 60’s Greyhound bus for a scene in the movie”THAT NIGHT”starring Juliette Lewis. The location chosen was supposed to be that of a small,roadside Greyhound agency in a rural part of the country. It was to be a nighttime goodby scene where a young girl is placed on a bus and viewers see the agency disappearing into the night through the back window of the bus as the coach pulls away.

Pete’s scenic was painted in authentic Greyhound colors and had the proper lettering and numbers. The running dog symbol was on both sides of the coach. For all intents and purposes, it was a Greyhound Bus. Seats were removed from the rear of the bus so a camera and its crew could be stationed inside. In fact, Pete had to remove the tinted rear window and have a clear window made and installed in its place, so the camera could shoot through the rear of the bus from the inside to the outside.

Scenes were recorded from outside and from inside the coach. It took hours to get the action right as the bus pulled away from the country store agency. The bus transmission, of course, wasn’t automatic, and we needed to shift up to third gear as smoothly as possible. The other driver and I would get a few hundred feet down this dark road, then stop, and have to back up without benefit of street lights or backup lights. The work took two nights.

Oh, I almost forgot. The director waited and waited for an official OK from Greyhound, so they could use their logo on the side of the bus. He didn’t get it. Working quickly in fading light, crew members took the dogs off the sides of the bus, covered the other markings and numbers which might refer to the Greyhound Corporation, and, matching the blue already on the coach, printed out: TRAILWAYS BUS LINES on both sides of the scenic. Now, to a real bus man, or an old Greyhound driver, that name on the side of a scenicruiser must have seemed sacrilegious to say the least. Pete just happened to have an old, orange Trailways Bus Depot sign with him, as well as a Greyhound sign, just the touch that was needed to complete the scene.

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