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Kaufman Astoria Studios

Paramount Studios Complex
Kaufman Astoria Studios
Kaufman Astoria Studios is located in New York City
Kaufman Astoria Studios
Location 35th Ave., 35th, 36th, and 37th Sts., New York, New York
Area 5 acres (2.0 ha)
Built 1921
Architect Multiple
Governing body General Services Administration
NRHP Reference # 78001897[1]
Added to NRHP November 14, 1978

The Kaufman Astoria Studios is a historic movie studio located in the Astoria section of the New York City borough of Queens. It is home to New York City's only backlot, which opened in December 2013.[2]


  • History 1
  • Recent activities 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


The studio was originally built by Famous Players-Lasky in 1920 to provide the company with a facility close to the Broadway theater district. Many features and short subjects were filmed here between 1920 and 1933. The two most famous movies to be shot here during that period are The Cocoanuts (1929) and Animal Crackers (1930), the first two Marx Brothers films. The first Sherlock Holmes sound film, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, was made at the studio by Basil Dean in 1929. It was also known as Astoria Studio and Paramount Studio. After Paramount Pictures moved all studio operations to California in 1932, the Astoria location was turned over to independent producers whose films were released through Paramount[3] or other Hollywood film companies.

In 1942, the United States Army Signal Corps Army Pictorial Service took over the studio for the making of Army training and indoctrination films until 1971, including The Big Picture that was shown on American television as a network television series.

The property was designated a national

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • Official website
  • Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) No. NY-5716, "Astoria Studios, Barracks Buildings, Thirty-fourth Ave between Thirty-fifth & Thirty-sixth Streets, Queens (subdivision), Queens County, NY", 3 data pages
  • Kaufman Astoria Studios at Internet Movie Database

External links

  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ Elizabeth Spencer-Ralph (August 1978). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Paramount Studios Complex".  
  5. ^ Levere, Jane L. (June 11, 2008). "Square Feet: A Big New York City Movie Studio Is Getting Bigger". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-12. 
  6. ^ "Sesame Street Wedding". Studio Times (Kaufman Astoria Studios). Summer 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  7. ^



In 2014 Kaufman Astoria Studios has announced plans to build a new 18,000-square-foot sound stage on its Astoria campus within two years.[7]

On December 3, 2013, a 34,800 square foot backlot was dedicated. It is the only studio backlot in New York City.[2]

In 2008, Marty Robinson, who plays Aloysius Snuffleupagus, Telly Monster, and Slimy the Worm on Sesame Street married Annie Evans, a writer for the show on the Sesame Street set. The ceremony was performed on the steps of 123 Sesame Street and the reception was held throughout the rest of the set.[6]

Kaufman Astoria Studios has seven sound stages including the new Stage K, designed by the Janson Design Group.[5]

Recent activities

The former 36th Street, recently gated as a back lot

The walls of the studio are lined with signed images of the performers who have worked in the studios, including Lena Horne, Ethel Merman, Bill Cosby, Paul Robeson, Lillian Gish, Claudette Colbert, Maurice Chevalier, Jeanette MacDonald, Diana Ross, and Jerry Orbach.

Television shows filmed at the studio include Sesame Street, Onion News Network, Johnny and the Sprites, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego, and its successor Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?, Some episodes of Judge Judy, Power of 10, The Cosby Show, Swans Crossing, Law & Order, Million Dollar Password, Video Power, Spin City, and Mariah Carey's MTV Unplugged. WFAN, a local sports radio station owned by CBS, was formerly based at the studio before moving to lower Manhattan in the fall of 2009.

Motion pictures filmed there include the musicals Hair and The Wiz, and the films Goodfellas and Carlito's Way. In 1984, The Jacksons' music video "Torture" was filmed there as well. Many sequences, especially the 'visitation' sequence in 2002 TV mini series, Angels in America were also shot here. A 2009 remake, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, also used the studios. In 2011, the remake of Arthur filmed a few scenes there.


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