This is an interesting picture of Jackie, the second lion used by MGM, who featured in MGM’s well-known opening credits. In the photograph Jackie’s roar is being recorded on a sound stage in his cage. He was a wild lion living in Sudan until he was imported into America. He was born in 1915 and trained by Mel Koontz. He was the first MGM lion to roar and he appeared in the credits of all MGM’s black-and-white films from 1928 to 1956 at which date he was replaced by a lion called Slats.
- You can identify a lion by its roar
- From how far can you hear a lion roar?
- Lion cub tries to roar and it’s cute
You will see Jackie in the opening credits of The Wizard Of Oz, aired in 1939. And he featured in the credits of MGM’s black-and-white cartoons. For film aficionados, in the early 1930s, MGM reissued some of its earlier pre-1928 silent films such as Flesh and the Devil and the earlier version of Ben Hur (1925). For these reissued films with pre-recorded music soundtracks and sounds, the creators replaced the logo featuring Slats with the one containing Jackie which misled people into believing that the Jackie logo had been used before 1928 (Wikipedia).
In addition to being the second lion featured in MGM’s logo, he appeared in over a hundred films including the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies. He joined an apparently slightly nervous Greta Garbo in a 1926 publicity photograph.
It seems that Jackie used up some of his nine lives, perhaps all of them, because he survived several accidents including an explosion in a film studio, an earthquake, two train wrecks and a sinking ship. In one accident he was on a aircraft which crashed landed leaving Jackie stranded in the Arizona wilderness for four days. He appears to have survived on sandwiches. He was dubbed, “Leo the Lucky”. Jackie died of heart problems on February 26, 1935.
P.S. in Jan 2020, pictures of desperately starving lions in a Sudanese zoo horrified the world. Sudan is not a good place to be if you are a lion. Not then and not now.