We wanted to share this wonderful photograph from 1929 showing the recording of “Leo the lion”, the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer mascot.
You’ve seen him hundreds of times, but what do you really know about him? In 1917, studio publicist Howard Dietz designed the “Leo The Lion” logo for Samuel Goldwyn’s Goldwyn Picture Corporation. He based it on the athletic team of his alma mater Columbia University, the Lions. When Goldwyn Pictures merged with Metro Pictures Corporation and Louis B. Mayer Pictures, the newly formed MGM retained the logo.
Since then, seven different lions have playing the role of Leo The Lion. The first was Slats, who roared quietly at the openings of MGM’s silent films from 1924 to 1928. The next lion, Jackie, was the first MGM whose roar was heard by the audience. He introduced MGM’s first talking picture, White Shadows on the South Seas, directed by W.S. Van Dyke and starring Monte Blue. The film won an Oscar in 1928-29 for Best Cinematography. Slats was also the first lion to appear in Technicolor in 1932.
The fifth and probably most famous lion was Tanner, used during the golden age of Hollywood.
After the brief reign of George, the sixth lion, MGM settled on Leo in 1957. Leo the Lion has now reigned for 56 years. Although he died in the mid seventies, he still roars his way into our hearts on a regular basis.
Many Hollywood icons considered it an honor to have their picture taken with the MGM lion.