‘Leo the Lion’ – from constellation to MBM mascot

With a title like Leo the Lion we need to start at the bottom, the oldest use of this phrase, the constellation, Leo.

Leo the Lion – constellation

A constellation is an area of the sky for astronomers. For laypeople it is both an area of the sky and a formation of stars that form a vague shape. The various shapes are signs of the zodiac of which there are 12. The zodiac is a celestial mapping system based on coordinates. It was created and developed in the 1st millennium BC by Babylon astronomers. Babylon is in what is now Iraq (50 miles south of Baghdad the capital).

Leo Constellation by Ahmad Alromeadheen
Leo Constellation by Ahmad Alromeadheen
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One of the zodiac signs is called Leo. The shape of the stars in the constellation Leo forms the vague shape of a lion. “Leo” is Latin for lion. The constellation is between Cancer and Virgo. The brightest star in Leo is called Regulus. The constellation contains named stars, bright galaxies and a cloud of helium and hydrogen called the Leo Ring.

The constellation Leo has a history stretching back thousands of years across many civilisations. It has been worshiped in ancient Egypt, for example. In Egypt, this was because the rise of the major river, the Nile, rose when the sun passed through the constellation.

To the untrained eye it is hard to discern how the shape of the lion is made out by the stars. Apparently, it is fairly easy to see in the spring north sky (face north and look up on a clear night!).

Now for some lighter stuff:

Leo in Astrology

The sun is in the constellation Leo from roughly July 23 to August 23 (western astrology). People born between these dates are, in astrological terms, Leos. People with this astrological zodiac sign are meant to be masculine, positive and extrovert.

Leo the lion
Leo the lion published under Wikimedia® creative commons license license = Attribution-ShareAlike License — user: Fulcanelli

More fun stuff:

Leo the Lion — the MGM mascot

Leo the Lion MGM Mascot
This is a copyrighted image published here under the rationale as set out by the Wikipedia user: Trogga and which can be seen on this page. I adopt this rationale for use of the image here.

The real lions that are part of the MGM logo (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, a renown Hollywood film studio) are shown at the beginning of an MGM produced film. They are probably the most seen and best-known lions of all. What do we know of these famous lions? Yes, there are more than one. Here is the list of Leo the lions:

  • “Slats” born Dublin Zoo March 20, 1919 – died 1936. He was on the logo between 1924 and 1928.
  • “Jackie” appeared on the logo between 1928 and 1956. She was very similar in appearance to Slats.
  • “Tanner” appeared on the logo for Technicolor films (1934—1956) and cartoons (1938—1958, 1963—1967). Tanner is probably the best-known lion as he was on the screen during the so called “golden age” of Hollywood movies.
  • “Leo” was purchased from an animal dealer (I don’t like animal dealers, sorry). He had a relatively small mane. He appeared from 1957 to present. Running alongside Leo for a short period was:
  • “Bob or Jackie 2” who appeared between 1956 and 1958

Leo the Lion — animated film

A 46 minutes (short?) animated film directed by Toshiyuki Hiruma and Takashi Masunaga and written by George Arthur Bloom. It is the story of a lion king who behaved arrogantly in failing to serve his subjects and who eventually comes around to realising how a king should behave to his credit and benefit. It is modestly popular rated 5.4/10 on the Internet Movie Database. The film is described as a heartwarming musical adventure. A family film.

Leo the Lion — Japanese cartoon (anime)

Japanese cartoons or animated films are called “anime”. The word, “anime” is taken from a part of the Japanese pronunciation of the English word “animation”. This film was a sequel to Kimba the White Lion, which was a Japanese-American co-production. The lion in both films is white.

Leo the Lion Anime film Japanese animation
This still from the movie shows the main characters including Leo in the center. This image is published under fair use despite being copyrighted. I adopt the rationale as stated by the Wikipedia user: Kimbawlion on this page of Wikipedia. The film was produced by Dr. Osamu Tezuka.

And lastly a British singer, no less, who I give a passing mention to, as he is not a lion!:

Leo the Lion — British singer and songwriter

His actual name is Leo Ihenacho. He was born on 28th May 1978. He became known signing for The Streets and has toured the USA and Europe. His nickname was given to him by Mike Skinner, a British rapper from Birmingham, England, born 1978.

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