Thursday, May 30, 2024

update RIP Magno Sound’s Famed Screening Rooms at 729 7th Avenue, After 68 Years, But Post Production Facility Will Continue at New Location


UPDATE THURS 12:30PM David Friedman called to say yes, indeed, it’s the end of the screening rooms. But Magno will continue as a production and post-production house. They’re moving to 15 East 32nd St. into smaller accommodations. At one time, he recalled, they had five screening rooms. But bookings have fallen as, just as I wrote, links and other digital methods have supplanted the human experience. Nice guy– I hope film companies will follow them to the new location.


EARLIER The new just gets worse and worse.

Closing for good after 68 years is Magno Sound and Recording and the famed Magno Screening Rooms at 729 Seventh Avenue. The last day is June 27th.

Magno has been in my life since the early 80s. There was a time when every press screening was there for every film. It was almost like a rite of passage. Even my own film, “Only the Strong Survive,” screened there.

Magno was created in 1950 by a man named Ralph Friedman (no relation to me). He died in 1991 and his sons have run the company ever since then.

The building 729 Seventh Avenue was built in 1915. It was immediately a media hub, where advertising agencies worked on radio ads. Believe it or not, my grandmother told me about going there to work on ads for the shoe company where was in PR in the mid 1920s.

The great screening rooms are disappearing. In the “old” days we depended on Magno, and on Todd AO (West 54th St.) and Columbia -Sony on Fifth Avenue, Universal on Fifth Avenue, the screening room in the Brill Building. They’re all gone. Publicists send links now. Warner Bros. still has their screening room, and Dolby took over MGM at 1350 Sixth Avenue. But it’s only a matter of time that this communal experience will disappear along with so many things we took for granted.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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