We have an audio quote today, which occurs at the start of this short clip from White Shadows in the South Seas, MGM’s first movie with a pre-recorded soundtrack, and the one in which Leo, the MGM Lion, roared for the first time. Here he is on July 31, 1928, speaking for himself:
There have been eight “Leos” and they have introduced MGM films since 1916. The first lion, “Slats,” just glanced around, and said nothing. It wasn’t until twelve years later that the new lion, “Jackie” performed on cue. Only once has the MGM lion actually been named “Leo,” and he’s the current star, and the fellow who’s occupied the throne since he was filmed in 1957. (The studio has referred to all the lions associated with its trademark as “Leo” since the beginning.)
In 1965, MGM had its own “New Coke” moment when it dabbled with a stylized, still graphic of a lion to introduce 2001: A Space Odyssey, and The Subject Was Roses. It didn’t seem to quite do the job, though, was swiftly moved aside, and Leo was brought back. Since then, the logo itself has undergone several adjustments, but Leo has remained its centerpiece.
Leo, you’ve introduced me to some of the most enjoyable movie excursions of my life. Thanks for the memories. Long may you continue to roar!
(If you’d like to learn more about each of the MGM lions, Wikipedia has a good rundown).