Warner Archive adds Inch High Private Eye to the on-demand DVD component of the ever-popular Hanna-Barbera Classic Collection. In this Saturday morning cartoon from 1973, one-inch tall Private Detective Inch High (yes, that’s his name: first name Inch, last name High) stands up to some of the world’s most dangerous criminals, and succeeds in spite of his limited stature and in spite of himself. For not only is Inch incredibly short, he’s also the single most inept detective employed by the Finkerton Detective Agency. Often times, Inch’s ineptitude finds him collaring none other than Mr. Finkerton himself instead of the criminals as Finkerton appears on the scene in an attempt to minimize Inch’s involvement in each case.
Why not just fire him, if the little guy’s so incompetent, you ask? I like to think that Finkerton would love nothing more than to fire Inch High, but cannot for legal reasons. After all, based solely on the cases presented in the series’ 13 episodes, Inch’s success rate with the Finkerton Agency, no matter how consistently wrong or misguided he may be throughout any given case, borders on 100 percent. Were he to fire Inch with such a record, Finkerton would no doubt have one heck of a size discrimination lawsuit on his hands!
Inch is aided in his detective work by his niece Lori; the hulking, bumbling master-of-1002 disguises, Gator; and Braveheart, Inch’s somnolent St. Bernard. The trio, especially Lori, rarely add anything to the adventures. Gator occasionally elicits a chuckle, but, for the most part, their exclusion from the series would honestly change very little. It would, however, highlight the sheer repetitive nature of the series. Being a product of Hanna-Barbera, it should come as no surprise to hear the series described as formulaic. To the best of my recollection, their cartoons were all highly formulaic, and more so than most series, owing to the low-cost production methods employed at the studio.
As such, you can’t really power through Inch High Private Eye. Honestly, the best way to watch the series is one episode at a time, programmed amidst a block of assorted animated programs just as it would have aired on a Saturday morning in the 1970s. And why not do just that? I can think of few things more enjoyable or cripplingly nostalgic, in fact, than sitting down with my son for a Saturday morning of Inch High, The Jetsons, and of course, Johnny Quest!
The series most notably features the voice work of Lennie Weinrib (the voice of H. R. Pufnstuf, Scrappy Doo, and even the Joker in the 1977 Batman cartoon) as Inch High himself, not to mention Don “Scooby Doo” Messick as Braveheart. This two-disc set from Warner’s on-demand DVD Archive includes all 13 episodes of Inch High Private Eye and is presented here sans bonus content (it is an on-demand release, after all).