The MGM lion: A video history of the evolution of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer logo.

The Evolution of the Movies’ Most Famous Lion

The Evolution of the Movies’ Most Famous Lion

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Slate's Culture Blog
April 17 2015 8:42 AM

The Evolution of the MGM Lion    

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Slats, the original MGM lion, was far less enthusiastic than the lion we see today.

Still taken via YouTube

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s roaring lion logo is iconic, and it’s taken a long journey—and several different lions—to get to the one we all now know and love. (His name is Leo.)

This video history made by Movie Munchies breaks down all the incremental changes from along the way. As chronicled in the video, the lion’s name back in the silent era was Slats. But instead of roaring or looking ferocious, good ol’ Slats just kind of sat there looking confused—or, at most, mustered a half-hearted snarl. When silent film gave way to sound, MGM started using more loquacious lions, giving us the roar. But now, the roar used is electronically produced. Looking back at the old cats, you might wonder whether over the decades we’ve lost some of their original charm.