“It took two big U-Haul trucks and packing them was like a big ‘Tetris' game,” Hughes said. “He sent carpet, chairs, all kinds of things with the bridge.”
Sadly, it was a wreck.
Bray became involved when he learned about the Exeter's move on a message board.
A one-time scenic designer in Florida for Universal Studios, Disney and the Smithsonian, he was the man to see about an accurate rebuild. He flew to Oklahoma City in 2011 for his first look at the bridge. One look, he was in.
“It was in sad shape,” Bray said. “It had water damage. The wood was warped. It was only three-quarters there, and we had to tear it down to the frame and rebuild it. It was beyond repair.”
Scott Johnson and Wells answered an ad from Hughes on Craigslist right after he got the bridge. The jobs give them an open schedule.
Hughes first took his treasure to an El Reno warehouse where the project stalled. Money ran low and Hughes and friends realized they needed a lot more space to build their dreams.
“We had a week left and we were trying to find a place to simply store the bridge,” Hughes said.
Other friends were searching for period furniture for series props when one found a couch on Craigslist. The couch belonged to a gentleman who ran estate sales and had a big warehouse.
“I remember calling him and asking if he had room for a starship bridge in his warehouse,” Hughes said. “He said, ‘Come on out.'
“We were so close to finishing the build in El Reno, but we tore the bridge back down and moved it.”
That was a year ago.
Today, the set — the same size as the one on the much more famous “USS Enterprise” — looks great.
Test scenes have been shot, uniforms are being made and scripts are scattered among the actors and crew.
After this series is shot, the men hope to open the bridge to the public for meetings and activities. They already have been contacted by the Make a Wish Foundation for a visit.
“We hope that other groups will use this set for other projects,” Wells said.