66. Tom and Jerry

Original Air Date: Syndicated theatrical shorts

This long-lived cat and mouse team (or anti-team, as the case might be) began life courtesy of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera for MGM in a series of theatrical shorts back in 1940. Telling the age-old tale of the feline and rodent who quite simply can't get along, Tom and Jerry eventually made its way to TV as did many of its movie-house peers. And there, on the small screen, the duo has thrived for generations, continuing to churn out new material to this day.

Winners of the Oscar for Best Short Subject seven times (!), Tom and Jerry have nonetheless had their ups and downs over the past 69 years. The dark years of detente between the two in the mid 1970s in particular brings a tear to this writer's eye, but the franchise as a whole has persevered nonetheless and even inspired plenty of imitators and successors, not the least of which is The Simpsons' Itchy and Scratchy.