Promotional materials for the Memphis Zoo often mention that,

"The famous lion roar heard at the beginning of classic MGM movies was recorded in the old Carnivora Building at the Memphis Zoo.

The lion, known as "Volney" to his keepers, died in 1944."

 

 

Many histories of the MGM lion (there apparently have been five or six different lions used) claim that Memphis' "Volney" was the second MGM lion and was used before the sound of a roar was included and that the subsequent lion, named "Jackie," was the first with an audible roar. In any event, Volney was not given to the Memphis Zoo until after his retirement from use by MGM so it is unclear how or why the roar would have been recorded at the Memphis Zoo. There seems to be quite a bit of foggy history regarding the lives of the MGM lions so who knows? It is not disputed that Volney was an MGM lion at some point.

Updated 02/13/2020 - Updated Weekly / Contact us at  samplememphis@gmail.com

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