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Western Animation / Inch High, Private Eye

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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 detective 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.

This series provides examples of:

  • Actually a Doombot: Two episodes of Inch High Private Eye featured Spumoni, a mad dollmaker as a villain. In the first, sold clockwork mannequins 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. The talking detached head warns of his return, which happens in the series finale as he comes back with robotic duplicates of the main character and his boss, and successfully ruins their reputation.
  • Bland-Name Product: The main characters work for the "Finkerton" detective agency. Their boss is even named "Mr. Finkerton".
  • 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 electric Hushmobile.
  • Expy: Of Tom of T.H.U.M.B., a segment of Videocraft's King Kong cartoon from 1966. Tom was a janitor at a secret agent office who with his partner Swingin' Jack got shrunk accidentally with a shrink Ray.
  • George Jetson Job Security: Inch gets fired or threatened to be fired a lot.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    Inch: Gator, a good detective never guesses. He bases his decisions on scientific deductions. (Beat) Lori, flip a coin
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Inch is one.note 
  • Master of Disguise: Gator sometimes tries to be one.
  • Mouse Hole: Inch High goes into a mousehole and meets a mouse bigger than he is. He backs up and his trenchcoat trips a mousetrap; the mouse snickers at him.
  • 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: Spumoni, 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 than her Uncle or her Uncle's actual assistant!
    • The comic book appearance (Hanna-Barbera Fun-In #14, Gold Key, October 1974) flanderizes Lori in that they make her Inch's secretary and she sees Inch as a romantic interest.
  • Pinkerton Detective: Does it really need to be explained?
  • Punny Name: As indicated, though, the name "Finkerton" is a pun on the name of the famous real-life detective agency.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: While most of the show's criminals are the usual bad guys, it is of note in the first episode, the criminal does in a way go to try and kill Inch by sucking him down his tub drain. While a show about a one inch high detective is not the most realistic, it is still mentioned that the criminal specifically came to try and knock Inch off from getting too close.
  • 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.