The Tom & Jerry legacy chases through every nook and cranny of the classic animation pantheon, spanning six decades and several famous directors. Looney Tunes icon Fritz Freleng, Tex Avery, and Chuck Jones all played their parts. The enduring cat-and-mouse team was the brainchild of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Their first short, Puss Gets the Boot (in which Tom was called Jasper) was released with little fanfare. Fellow animators did not consider a cat-pursuing-mouse scenario too exciting or original. However when unleashed on exhibitors and audiences, their hilariously diabolical rivalry delighted everyone.