Plot: Inch High might be small in stature, standing only an inch tall, but he is a giant in the detective field. Or at least he thinks though, even if the owners of the Finkerton Detective Agency don’t always agree. He doesn’t see his diminutive size as an obstacle, but as an advantage and he puts it to good use as he solves cases. He considers himself a prime investigator, but he doesn’t work alone, as aided by his niece Lori, her boyfriend Gator, and of course, his faithful canine companion Braveheart. While Inch High is able to sniff out clues, he also often stumbles his way into solutions and information, so he relies on his coworkers to bail him out of those troublesome situations. So he might not be the brightest bulb, but his friends are always there to lend a hand, including Goldie and Super Flea. Can Inch High keep ahead of the crooks and solve these tough cases, or will he just get himself into deeper trouble?
Entertainment Value: This series had a short run of only 13 episodes, but has remained a fairly high profile part of animation history. This is due in part to the ridiculous premise, but it is also a testament to the strength of Hanna-Barbera’s legacy, at least I think so. Inch High Private High takes a quirky concept and runs with it, giving us a detective that is not only an inch tall, but also follows in the footsteps of the bumbling investigators that preceded him. He might solve the case, but he takes a dizzying path to the clues and falls backwards into the truth. While not one of Hanna-Barbera’s crown jewels, the show has immense nostalgia value and offers a colorful, offbeat slice of classic animation. The narratives are simple and the humor is mostly slapstick, with pratfalls and dim witted exchanges, but this is a cartoon series about an inch high private eye, so of course it is constant silliness. I am a big Hanna-Barbera fan, so I tend to have a soft spot for even the not-so-stellar parts of the catalog, but I do think this holds up as goofy, harmless fun. A little run of the mill perhaps, outside of the wild premise, but still packs solid entertainment.
In terms of animation, the show is passable, but not eye popping stuff, in line with similar shows from this period. The character designs seem pretty standard as well, though some of the villains are given creative designs. I do like that the whole inch tall hero approach allows for some unusual angles and compositions, which lets the animation flex here and there. How Inch High interacts with his environment is a big part of the show, so the animators were able to come up with some creative and fun stuff in that aspect. I also think the voice work is more than solid, with Lennie Weinrib, Jamie Farr, Don Messick, Kathy Gori, and even classic villain Ted Knight. So even when the stories aren’t quite up to snuff, at least the voice performances are strong and help carry the episodes. I know some of this sounds negative, but in truth Inch High Private Eye just has a lot to live up to, given Hanna-Barbera’s timeless collection of shows. On its own, it stands as a creative, solid series, but within the Hanna-Barbera realm, it does seem a little slight by comparison. But for anyone who appreciates classic animation and Hanna-Barbera, this series is worth a look.