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Dutch

Was this the first sound Engineer?

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Dutch   

The film "The Jazz Singer" from 1927 is typically credited for ushering in the era of sound for film. I however, like to give credit to the iconic MGM lion from 1924. Does anyone know the name of the sound engineer in this picture as he's surely deserving of our remembrance?

 

MGM logo filming.jpg

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Jay Rose   

Little known fact:

Mel Blanc actually looped the lion. It was the industry's first post-sync job, made more fascinating since it occurred pre- sync being invented.

; )

 

(Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if the mic and mixer were because they made an ET of the roar for use in their radio promotional shows. Radio tie-ins were a very big part of the Hollywood Machine in the 20s.)

(For you post-Digital folks: "ET" refers to electrical transcription, radio-talk for cutting an acetate disc to record an audio event or delay a show. Pre-magnetic tape, though they were still using that term on the logs at my first station gig.)

 

 

 

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Dutch   

Thanks Jay! I wasn't aware that iconic roar was looped. Your info also sent me on an exploration of Mel Blanc, a man who I admired since childhood. In his interview on David Letterman he stated that it took 125 people nine months to create a six and a half minute cartoon (no wonder those Warner Brothers cartoons were the best).

Really appreciate you sharing your experience/wisdoms!

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Dutch   

Funny you said that "aff", and so very true. Isn't that one of the unwritten rules and a large part of the job as production crew? From my first experience as a "walk on" Boom Op for a locally produced Christian film I always saw my role as supporting or promoting an actors/actresses best performance as well as capturing their sound. I like to make eye contact before I lower the boom into their proverbial space and sometimes going beyond that general sign of respect in an effort to ameliorate the production. For instance: on that same film we had a night scene with an Emmy award winning dark skinned actress. She was very nervous how she looked and called for makeup several times and our "Indie" Director was getting more and more frustrated each time which in turn made her more nervous. Something needed to give to break the building tension. As I was just feet away from her I looked her over very gently and said with a big smile "Lynn you look beautiful". Poof, the tension instantly disappeared from her face and she boldly stated that she was ready and banged the scene on the first take. The night she wrapped I watched her searching through the crowd until she spotted me on the other side of the room. Lynn made a special point to give me a big hug and thank me for making her feel comfortable. To make a long story short, there's a lot more to capturing great sound than just the technical aspects of the discipline. That film ended up being good enough to be purchased by Sony too!

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aff   

I love these anecdotes. Thank you, Dutch. I wonder if anyone looked the lion in the eye and said the same!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Mirror   

I'll bet that that picture is staged. Why would a recordist set up so closely to an animal? Everyone knows that the less distractions for animals and kids the better - let alone that lions can eat you. Looks like a publicity photo and if that's so, those two guys are probably meat puppets instead of technicians.

Actors? ...mehh

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Leo set up the shot, and what Leo wants... Leo gets!

In actuality, even though "Leo the Lion" was how MGM billed him, there were seven lions used over the years, with only the last one actually named "Leo."  They were:  Slats, Jackie, Telly, Coffee, Tanner, George, and Leo.  You'll note that the Wikipedia page has a slightly different photo, apparently from the same photo shoot:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_the_Lion_(MGM)

 

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