Opening its doors on September 20, 1920, as the FamousPlayers/Lasky, Kaufman Astoria Studios (as it is known now) later wenton to be called Paramount Studios, where Rudolph Valentino, the MarxBrothers and Gloria Swanson made names for themselves. Today, it hasreopened its doors as KAS Music & Sound and is under the directionof Joe Castellon (pictured). This high-tech recording studio has hosteda range of musicians such as Placido Domingo, Destiny’s Child, TonyBennett, Betty Buckley, Wynton Marsalis and many others.
The new studio will focus on providing independent producers withmusic for their films: A staff of composers and arrangers are on handto score the film and record it for producers who do not have theresources to do it on their own. Other recent updates include aclimate-controlled storage area to keep tapes and hard drives at idealtemperature conditions, and a studio for dialog replacements andvoice-over work.
The road from Valentino to Castellon was a bit winding. In 1942, theproperty was transferred to the U.S. Army and functioned under the nameSignal Corps Pictorial Center; during this time, the army producedfilms for soldiers about survival on the battlefront, hygiene in thetropics and musical features to keep the troops entertained. In 1972,when the Army declared the site “surplus property,” thestudio was saved by a nonprofit organization and designated a landmarkby the U.S. Department of the Interior. Ten years later, George Kaufman(in a partnership with Alan King and Johnny Carson) obtained the studiolease and renamed it Kaufman Astoria Studios. Continuing with its richhistory, in 2001, KAS acquired Master Sound, a recording studio housedin the complex since 1995.
For more, visit www.KaufmanAstoria.com.
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