Evolution of MGM (Metro Goldwyn Mayer) Lions

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Metro Goldwyn Mayer Lion! Does that ring any bell in your mind? No? What if I tell you it was the important part of your childhood? So yes! A Vital piece of your childhood, the cartoons you have been watching in all those years. Some of them had a Lion roaring in the starting and ending. Now that you are recalling your memory, Tom and Jerry cartoons will suddenly bang in your mind. Yes, that lion was real.

In 1917, studio marketing specialist Howard Dietz planned the “Leo the Lion” logo for Samuel’s Goldwyn Picture Corporation. He paid tribute to his team in alma mater Columbia University named the Lions. When Goldwyn pictures became partners with Metro Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Pictures, the recently framed MGM held the logo. It wasn’t one lion. Those were seven lions in total.

First ever lion was “Slat” which was used from 1924 to 1928. It didn’t actually roar. MGM studio filmed him looking right and left for the black and white era of films. Those films were actually silent films. This Logo was first showed up in the picture He Who Gets Slapped (1924).


After the death of Slat, MGM found a look-a-like lion called “Jackie” used from 1928 to 1957. And it roared! Some sources even say that when MGM was filming this lion standing proud and silent, it roared on 2 people who entered and mauled one of them, who died after 2 days of the incident. Jackie occurred in all black & white films of MGM, even when the colored era arrived. White Shadows in the South Seas (1928) was the first movie for Jackie. He also occurred in MGM’s black & white cartoon films. Jackie started the era of MGM talking films.


Telly and Coffee were two lions, who appeared in color films and animation of MGM. Telly first appeared in 1927 and remained appearing till 1932. After that, having a very short career “Coffee” showed up from 1932 to 1934. These two subjects were used for two-stripped Technicolor films.

When MGM started making full three-strip Technicolor films in 1934, they replaced the old lions with a lion called “Tanner”. This Lion was used in all the films leaving black & white, till 1956. Also, it impressed the audience in Cartoon films from 1935 to 1956 and 1963 to 1967.

Replacing Coffee and Jackie, MGM filmed a new Lion in 1956 called “George”. MGM photographed this lion in two versions. One: It was roaring towards the right side and Second: It was roaring towards the upright corner. This logo of the lion was also spotted in black & white films from 1957 to 1958.

The last and still-present lion is “Leo”. Despite the fact that this lion kicked the bucket in the mid-seventies, but he still roars in all of MGM films. This logo also had two versions. The “extended” version where it roared for three times and the “standard” version where it roared twice.

Now that you all must be wondering if which lion was used for your favorite cartoons Tom and Jerry then the answer is: All the Tom and Jerry released between 1963 and 1967, Tanner made the opening appearance for them. After that, Leo was used in all of the films and cartoons.


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