According to Wikipedia,
The first entry in the series, 1964's The Pink Phink, featured the Panther harassing his foil, a little white moustached man who is actually a caricature of Friz Freleng (this character is officially known as "The Man," by constantly trying to paint the little man's blue house pink. The Pink Phink won the 1964 Academy Award for Animated Short Film, and subsequent shorts in the series, usually featuring the Pink Panther opposite the little man, were successful releases.Also, according to Firedoglake, the blog that posted this video over the weekend,
The first of the Pink Panther animated shorts distributed by United Artists, it was released on December 18, 1964. Winning the 1965 Academy Award for Best Short marked the first time in history a studio won an Academy Award with its very first animated short film.