When Star Trek: The Original Series was canceled in 1969, most of the sets were dismantled and destroyed. The few small items that survived were bought by private collectors. Until recently, one could only relive the experience through television reruns.
Star Trek fanatic James Cawley began rebuilding the original set in 1997. He used copies of the original show’s blueprints he obtained from costume designer William Ware Theiss, and spent hours researching thousands of photographs to ensure its precision. The result has been described as a religious experience by the multitude of Trekkies who flock to see the exhibit.
Cawley’s efforts yielded the most accurate reproduction of the sets built in 1966 for Desilu Productions. Desilu is a mashup of its owners’ names, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, who funded Gene Roddenberry’s sci-fi drama with money from I Love Lucy.
The studio hosts the annual Trekonderoga, which includes panels and presentations from stars of the series. And in 2017, Crawley launched the Star Trek Film Academy, where attendees can participate in creating vignettes based on original scripts.
Cawley has also been ranked the Number 1 Elvis impersonator in the U.S. by a committee of Elvis fan club presidents, and performs a yearly concert with his band the American Longboards at the studio.