Entertainment
Historic Unedited Photos They Don’t Want You To See
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760a631d0dea2ae92cb6e9f7b157b927
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Entertainment
Historic Unedited Photos They Don’t Want You To See
Publication: Historical History.
Posted by
760a631d0dea2ae92cb6e9f7b157b927
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Roar Being Recorded for MGM Movies

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Where:
Unknown
When:
1924
Summary:
Jackie is the second lion filmed for the iconic production logo of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and the first lion to roar.

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Roar Being Recorded for MGM Movies



  Where:
Unknown

  When:
1924

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Movie studios seem to come and go pretty quickly these days, but there are a few mainstays that have been around since the Golden Era of Hollywood. One of these studios is Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, or MGM for short. The studio was the product of different companies coming together, consisting of Goldwyn Pictures and Metro Pictures, and Louis B. Mayer was given the lead role, thus the MGM name.Advertisements:


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With the merger between companies also meant that MGM was bringing along with it the famous lion that’s seen before the films. This started at Goldwyn Pictures when it was first used in 1916 for the company’s production logo. This lion was always referred to the company as Leo the Lion, even if there were many that weren’t even named Leo.

The lion that you see here is the very first lion that was used by MGM named Slats. Slats was born at the Dublin Zoo in 1919, and was used in their black and white films starting in 1924. Here, studio producers are seen capturing the lion for their title card on camera, giving the distinct look that comes at the beginning of their films. Around the lion is a circle that reads “Ars gratia artis,” which is Latin for “Art for art’s sake.”

The first time that we see the Leo the Lion logo in an MGM film comes in 124 with the release of the film “He Who Gets Slapped,” starring Lon Chaney.

It was Howard Dietz that came up with the idea of using a lion, as he had attended Columbia University that has the lion mascot as well. You might notice that the MGM lion would eventually roar before films, but Slats actually didn’t do that when he was featured. In 1928, Slats was retired from the company and they moved on to a lion named Jackie.

That same year, moviegoers were treated to their first lion’s roar when the film “White Shadows in the South Sea” was released. Other lions that were used by MGM for their logo include Telly, Coffee, Tanner, George and now Leo, that has been used since 1957. It can be difficult to get a lion to cooperate, and this photo really gives an inside look on how a piece of movie history was made.

Slats had been trained by Volney Phifer, who was the go-to guy for all animal training in Hollywood at the time. Phifer came to grow quite the bond with Slats and even buried the lion at his farm when he passed away in 1936. Through the years, there have been some urban legends about the infamous lion that have required some strong fact checking.

This photo shows that the lion was free to roam throughout the room, but a photo popped up from behind that showed a lion strapped to a bed with the MGM logo wall surrounding him. However, this turned out to be false as it was actually a photograph of a lion that was being held down for a CAT scan and someone had doctored in the MGM logo. The picture was also from 2005, so there’s no way it could’ve been Slats.

There were also rumors that Slats killed his trainer and his assistants, but we know that turned out to be false, as well, as Volney Phifer outlived Slats. From what we know, Slats never harmed anyone while he was being trained and was actually very mellow. Another rumor says that the first roar came from when burglars broke into the warehouse while they were filming and disturbed the lion, but yet it was another fabrication.

MGM tried to get away from the live lion for their logo in 1965 when they went with a stylized version of a lion, but it was only used for three movies. In those movies, MGM actually went back and replaced the drawn logo with the live lion. You can still see this stylized logo, however, at MGM Grand Casinos in cities such as Las Vegas.

The logo would become an iconic one in all of cinema, as MGM released some of the most famous movies ever made. Films such as “The Wizard of Oz”, “Gone with the Wind” and “Ben-Hur” all begin with Leo the Lion making his appearance. The company is still in existence today with more than just movies to its name.

You can still see Leo the Lion on MGM’s headquarters these days, too, as the company has moved its headquarters to Beverly Hills, California. Under the MGM umbrella, you’ll find film libraries such as United Artists, Orion Pictures and 21st Century Film Corporation. We don’t know if there will ever be another Leo the Lion as they company hasn’t changed the one they’ve had for more than 50 years. Then again, there’s really not much need to as the logo has withstood the test of time and has become synonymous with films.

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