The lion that welcomes moviegoers with a loud roar before every MGM film is named Leo. Since 1917, MGM had seven lions publicly known as Leo grace its opening credits.
The original MGM lion was actually named Slats; he was the studio’s mascot from 1917 to 1928. A new lion named Jackie took over as the studio lion in 1928. Jackie is one of the most famous lions in MGM’s history: he was the first to have his roar recorded and used in the movie studio’s first sound production.
Jackie was also used on publicity tours. One tour involved an airplane with a built-in cage for the MGM Flying Lion. Though the plane was meant to fly across the country, it crashed in Arizona. Luckily, Jackie’s cage remained intact and he survived on sandwiches and water until the pilot returned with help four days later.
Because the lion has played a major role in the studio’s history, Leo’s paw prints were immortalized in cement at the TCL Chinese Theatre in 2014 to celebrate MGM Studios’ 90th anniversary.