1. Matt Groening, The Simpsons
The Simpsons debuted as a short on The Tracy Ullman Show in April of 1987. This short was spun off into the mega-hit we know today. Below is the second short to air.
2. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park
While in college, Parker and Stone created the short Jesus vs. Frosty, which featured characters, voices, and an aesthetic that would become the South Park that is popular today.
3. Seth MacFarlane, Family Guy
MacFarlane worked on many mainstream cartoons before getting Larry and Steve to air. Larry and Steve was based off a 10-minute short he made in college, and featured two characters who are clear inspiration for Peter and Bryan from Family Guy.
4. Nick Park, Wallace and Gromit
In the same year that he created the first Wallace and Gromit short (which won a BAFTA), Park created Creature Comforts, which paired audio from interviews about living conditions in London with animated animals.
5. William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, Tom and Jerry
Hanna (left) and Barbera (seated) are behind some of the most famous cartoons of all time: The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, and Yogi Bear, to name a select few. Their partnership began with the short Puss Gets the Boot, which was tweaked to become the long-running Tom and Jerry series.
6. Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo, Rugrats
Klasky and Csupo, along with Paul Germain, created Rugrats after ending their contract with The Simpsons. Klasky and Csupo’s production team produced other hits, like Rocket Power and Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. Below is the unaired pilot, featuring a different voice actress for the lead character, Tommy Pickles.
7. Keith Chapman, Bob the Builder
Chapman created Bob the Builder while he was working as an agency art director. He then went on to create Fifi and the Flowertots.
8. Tex Avery, Bugs Bunny
Tex Avery and his team are behind classic Looney Tunes characters like Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and—of course—Bugs Bunny. Gold Diggers of ‘49 was the first short Avery made as the head of a new team at Warner Bros.
9. Butch Hartman, The Fairly OddParents
Hartman worked for several animation studios before The Fairly OddParents was picked up for a full series. It originally debuted as a short on Oh Yeah! Cartoons. The success of OddParents led to Hartman’s other mainstream success, Danny Phantom.
10. Walt Disney, Mickey Mouse
Though Steamboat Willy was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon to feature sound, Mickey had two prior appearances in silent cartoons, including his debut in Plane Crazy. In the video below, a soundtrack has been added.