Roar, Lion, Roar / For Alma Mater on the Hudson shore!*
January 19, 2011 4:17 PM   Subscribe

Shooting the MGM logo in 1924 with Jackie the Lion.

Jackie was not the first of the MGM lions. Born in a zoo in Dublin Ireland just after WWI, Slats preceeded Jackie (who appeared in all black and white films 1928 – 56, although he is also seen before The Wizard of Oz, Ben-Hur (1925), and Flesh and the Devil). Slats was also the first MGM roar to be heard in theatres... via a gramaphone recording. At the same time Telly (1927-32) and Coffee (1932-34) were used before two-color Technicolor shorts. They were succeed by Tanner (1934 - 1956) and George (1956).The only MGM film in which a lion does not roar in the opening logo? 2001: A Space Odyssey, which uses the silent “Stylised Lion” now associated with MGM’s casino and music operations.

The MGM logo has also been parodied a few times in movies, perhaps most effectively by these Canadians, these brothers, this cat, and this muppet.

If like me you've always felt that the roars of the MGM lion seemed a little reluctant and prodded, you might take some consolation in the fact that Leo, the lion featured in the logo from 1957 to present. was raised with "affection training" by Ralph Helfer. Appropriate to the digital age, in 1995 Leo's roar was electronically enhanced, with a complete restoration in 2008. [PDF]

Sadly, no amount of roaring could help save MGM from bankruptcy. Now merged with Spyglass Entertainment, the studio is set to release the latest movie in its most valuable property in November next year.

The stories behind other Hollywood studio logos.

Post inspired by this reddit thread.

* The brainchild of designer Howard Dietz, the MGM mascot was intended to be a tribute to his alma mater, Columbia University; this is a line from the school's fight song.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (11 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
"Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great circle of life."
posted by Fizz at 4:21 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Stylized Lion link doesn't work for me, so here's another one.
posted by Deflagro at 4:27 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nobody ever thinks to use a giraffe in situations like this. A very underrated animal.
posted by Senator at 4:34 PM on January 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

I think Daniel Craig would make a good Putin.
posted by boo_radley at 4:48 PM on January 19, 2011

I started reading this thread right at the second roar from the lion, and it blew my fucking mind.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 5:11 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

So cool, but under parodies, you forgot Mimsie! (Luckily, this little guy didn't.)
posted by maudlin at 5:39 PM on January 19, 2011

I think the roar of a seal is under appreciated, but then I'm biased.
posted by arcticseal at 7:15 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm sure the "affection training" of Ralph Helfer was pleasant, but could it compare to the pussycat's dream of being bottle fed by Mrs. Gay, who with her husband Charles raised Slats, Jackie and all those early MGM lions at their El Monte Lion Farm? Mind you, they did kill the occasional skinny oldster and barbecue it for visiting Lions Club delegations, but the Gays were good to their cats, who were not abused in order to get those roars.
posted by Scram at 7:19 PM on January 19, 2011

Stick a pin in his bum, eh?
No way!
Maybe I should crank his tail, eh? That ought to start him up! Ok, start up! Come on, eh?
posted by xedrik at 9:43 PM on January 19, 2011

Aw dammit nvm, missed that link in the post. >.<
posted by xedrik at 9:45 PM on January 19, 2011

Is there no explanation of the Mexican wrestler mask?
posted by pollex at 4:23 PM on January 20, 2011

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