Western Animation / Inch High, Private Eye

Inch High, Private Eye was a Hanna-Barbera cartoon on NBC, premiering September 8, 1973 and running just one season of 13 episodes.

Inch High was a tiny (inch high, as his name implies), pragmatic but none-too-efficient employee of the Finkerton employment agency. He was assisted by his niece Lori, his addle-brained strongarm Gator, and his cowardly St. Bernard Braveheart. Mr. Finkerton, head of the agency, would love nothing more than to fire Inch on principle alone, but ascribing to the adage "the bigger they are, the harder they fall," Inch brings in his criminals. It was never disclosed how Inch High got to be as tiny as he is, but a publicity card from Hanna-Barbera attributes it to a secret formula he concocted.

After its NBC run, Inch High would go into syndicated replays in select markets for some ten years. The character would appear in episodes of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law.

This series provides examples of:

  • Actually a Doombot: Two episodes of Inch High Private Eye featured a mad dollmaker as a villain. In the first, sold clockwork manikins to department stores that would rob them. In the end, he's arrested but a failed escape attempt reveals that they only caught a robotic duplicate. Due to the prevalence in Robotic Reveal in the cartoons of the era the main characters never even consider the possibility that the real guy is still at large... until he comes back with robotic duplicates of the main character and his boss, and successfully ruins their reputation.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Inch and Gator are prone to this trope.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: In Inch High's only comic book appearance (Hanna-Barbera Fun-In #14, Gold Key, October 1974), Lori becomes Inch's lovestruck secretary. Jack Manning drew both stories for the issue
  • Cool Car: Inch's Hushmobile.
  • Expy: The tiny secret agent was previously affected in 1966 on Tom Of T.H.U.M.B., a segment of Videocraft's King Kong cartoon series. In that show, the character was a janitor for a secret agent bureau and accidentally got shrunk from a ray gun.
  • George Jetson Job Security: Inch gets fired or threatened to be fired a lot.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Inch is one.
  • Master of Disguise: Gator sometimes tries to be one.
  • Mr. Smith: One episode featured a casino hidden in a hotel. To gain access, the clients had to tell the clerk they're looking for "Mr. Smith". Its downfall started when the Finkertons had a lawyer named Smith.
  • Murderous Mannequin: A villain, known for being a Gadgeteer Genius (to the point that he even evaded arrest by fooling the police with a life-like replica of himself), built robots disguised as ordinary mannequins, sold them to department stores, then used them to rob the stores and return to him.
  • Nephewism: Lori is Inch's niece, and she's more competent a detective then her Uncle or her Uncle's actual assistant!
  • Pinkerton Detective: Does it really need to be explained?
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: A scientist working for Mr. Finkerton developed a mechanical flea that could make detectives unnecessary. When it was stolen, Finkerton tasked Inch High with finding it, claiming Inch High would be fired if he failed and that, if he succeeded, he'd fired anyway because Finkerton would no longer need him.