#30 – Leo the Lion (MGM)
“Art for art’s sake.” Once the most glamorous and revered film studio in Hollywood, Metro Goldwyn Mayer was established in 1924 after the merger of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Productions. Quickly becoming a powerhouse in the industry, MGM earned the reputation for attracting “more stars than are in the heavens” as their iconic logo featuring Leo the Lion was finally brought to life.
Inspired by his alma mater’s mascot – the Columbia University lion – Howard Dietz designed the logo for Goldwyn Pictures in 1916. By the merger in 1924, MGM liked it so much that they decided to keep it and bring it to life. Pictured here in the middle of filming the title card for the studio, Slats the Lion was on loan from the Dublin Zoo and became the first real lion ever used at MGM, making his debut appearance in the opening of He Who Gets Slapped. Four years later, Slats and his six successors would finally have their roars heard making MGM’s logo the best known in the industry.