Vintage: Recording the MGM lion (1920s)

Vintage: Recording the MGM lion (1920s)

Leo the Lion is the mascot for the Hollywood film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and one of its predecessors, Goldwyn Pictures, featured in the studio’s production logo, which was created by the Paramount Studios art director Lionel S. Reiss. Though MGM has referred to all of the lions used in their trademark as “Leo the Lion”, only the current lion, in use since 1957, was actually named “Leo”.


1928 A cameraman and a sound technician record the roar of “Leo” the lion for MGM’s famous movie logo. The footage was first used on MGM’s first talking picture White Shadows in the South Seas. Image: John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images


Jan. 28, 1929 Hollywood, Los Angeles, California — “Now that the talkies are making all the human stores sound their vowels and constants properly, Leo, the M.G.M. Lion has decided that he had better look to his laurels. Photo shows him before the mike with a cameraman and an operator of movietown.” Image: Bettmann/CORBIS


c. 1927 “Jackie pounces upon his trainer.” Image: Public domain


1925 Swedish-born actress Greta Garbo (1905-1990) sits in a chair next to “Leo,” the lion mascot for MGM studios. Image: Marc Wanamaker/Hulton Archive/Getty Images


1928 “Leo” in his travelling enclosure during a world publicity tour. At the wheel is trainer Jack Phillips. Image: Keystone/Getty Images


1927 “Leo” in his cage in the Ryan Brougham plane. Image: San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive


Leo’s cage, built into the aircraft. Image: San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive


1927 Leo’s plane takes off. Image: San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive


1927 Rescuers at the crash scene. Image: San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive


Image: San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive



1927 “Leo” is taken safely back to the studio. Image: San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive