Sunday, August 11, 2013


The MGM logo as we know it today is just the most recent incarnation of a brand which began in 1924, when the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio was formed. The photo above depicts an early filming of the mascot's roar (MORE IMAGES HERE), but there have in fact been several MGM "Leos," among them Slats, Jackie, Tanner, and George. The urban legend that the MGM lion killed its trainer and 2 assistants is false, and all of the lions used were handled by professionals without incident. In the 1920s and 1930s, MGM brought lions – some of them borrowed from local zoos – to movie premieres or publicity events. When one of these lions died, its skin was removed, tanned, and made into a rug. The taxidermy specimen made its way from Hollywood into the collection of a bank president in Kansas. Francis Vaniman displayed the prize on the 3rd floor of his home, which becamet the McPherson Museum after his death. The pelt had been spread across a table, but after it was found that visitors were pulling the hairs out, it was placed behind glass. Executive director Carla Barber divulges, "I can't say we know. You can research until you're dead and you'll never really know. But we're pretty sure we have an MGM Leo."

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