Welcome back to Rotten Ink, readers and friends. I think we need some help solving a case, you see this blog is 10 Years Old this year and we need a good update about a topic that I loved in my youth, something that always captured my imagination and had me glued to the TV when an episode was on. So in order to find this topic I decided to hire a detective or even a P.I. to help me find just the right topic to cover I called Dick Tracy, Batman, Sherlock Holmes and even Jonni Thunder, all of whom have gotten the Rotten Ink treatment over the years and none were available to help! But then I found a Private Eye, an Inch High one who not only helped me solve the case, but he became the case. That’s right, on this update we will be talking about the Hanna-Barbara cartoon character Inch High Private Eye! So let’s all become gumshoes, and let’s talk about a classic Private Eye that’s only an inch high that brought a young me so much entertainment via his cartoon.
Inch High is a private investigator who took a very top-secret formula that shrunk him down to being only an inch high! Because of his tiny size, he can get the information about his subject for his client and it makes it so much easier for him to crack and solve cases. He is helped on his cases by his niece Lori, Gator and Braveheart the dog and works for The Finkerton Detective Agency for his boss Mr. Finkerton who dislikes him and keeps waiting for the day he can fire him! Inch High travels the world to solve cases and comes across all types of creeps, thieves and weirdos. Inch High would go onto be in episodes of “Harvey Birdman Attorney At Law” with his first appearance being in 2004 in an episode that has Inch High being fired over his size by Mr. Finkerton. He then hires Harvey, and they file a lawsuit about size discrimination. After that episode Inch High is shown around the office and is mostly getting tormented or squashed. Inch High also is a character on the HBOmax series Jellystone! that has many of the Hanna-Barbara characters living in the same town. So while he might not have had the fame of Yogi Bear or Scooby-Doo, Inch High Private Eye has made his mark on the world of cartoon and the world is a better place for it.
Back in the 60’s and 70’s, one of the biggest cartoon companies was Hanna-Barbera Productions as they delivered so many now iconic characters to viewers like Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Wally Gator, Top Cat, The Flintstones, The Jetsons and Johnny Quest to name a very small amount. TV stations needed more and more cartoons as the youth of the time flocked to their televisions to watch the newest toon to grace their screens, and on NBC starting on September 8, 1973 they got treated to Hanna-Barbera Productions newest creation called Inch High Private Eye! The show cast Lennie Weinrib to voice Inch Eye, a skilled voice actor who is known for lending his pipes to such characters as H.R. Pufnstuf, Scrappy-Doo, Gomez Addams, Stanley Chan and Grimace for McDonalds commercials. Rounding out the main voice cast is Kathy Gori, Don Messick, Bob Luttrell and John Stephenson. The show was met with mixed reviews at the time of release with many kids enjoying it, but it did not capture that must-watch TV status and only lasted 13 episodes and was cancelled by NBC on December 1, 1973. When the show ended, it would be dormant for many years until the 1980’s when the show started to air again as part of the USA Cartoon Express on the USA Network. This is how I first saw the show and became a fan. Inch High Private Eye then would go on to be shown on Cartoon Network and Boomerang, gaining the show even more of a cult following. The series would be released as apart of Warner Brothers disc on demand releases that were based on the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons. While Inch High Private Eye is not as well known or loved as many other cartoons from the 70’s, it is one that you should check out if you have never seen it.
Because the show was very short lived, not much merchandise was created around Inch High for fans to collect, and that’s a shame as even to this day with his cult following he still does not get much. Besides the comic book appearance for Fun-In Comics he also got some drinking glasses, a metal lunchbox, pellet gun toy as well as over the years has graced art prints, buttons, shirts and stickers. The show also has had episodes released on VHS and the complete series on DVD. It’s odd to me that he has not gotten the Funko Pop treatment yet as well as did not get at least one official figure over the years. I own the comic and the DVD and would like to at some point get a cool t-shirt of him.
When I was growing up, cartoons were always a big topic on the playground, as kids would always talk about the newest episodes of their favorite ones and would even make up stories that featured their favorite cartoon characters. In Waynesville I can remember that lots of kids loved the old Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbra cartoons with names like Bugs Bunny, Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear, Daffy Duck and Tasmanian Devil being super popular ones. It’s a shame that kids don’t get Saturday Morning Cartoons or after school toons any more like we had in the 80’s and 90’s…but I guess they have so many more all day cartoon networks to watch now as well as streaming services so what do I know. I want to thank an Ebay seller for having this comic in stock and want to remind you all that I grade these comics on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comics stay to the source material, their entertainment value and their art and story. I also want to say that Inch High Private Eye was part of a comic series called “Fun-In” that showcased a different Hanna-Barbera character in each issue, and sadly he was only showcased on one issue! But if you are ready, let’s go on some cases with Inch High and Whitman Comics!
Fun-In # 14 **1/2
Released in 1974 Cover Price .25 Whitman # 14 of 15
“The Fashion Rustlers”- Inch High is mad at his boss Mr. Finkerton who is asleep in his office demanding that Inch High hit the streets and get the company some cases. He then decides to go to the beach with Lori and Gator as Lori is excited to show the world her one of a kind bikini she bought from fashion designer Pierre LeFlair, but it’s not one of kind as the whole beach is filled with young ladies wearing it, and Inch Eye has a case of fashion robbery to solve as is Pierre a conman or is someone stealing is designs and selling them at discount stores. The Toy Department Manger and a man named Martin are working for the ones stealing the designs and selling them at mass market. Inch Eye is able to take down Martin and the Toy Manager and finds the Boss who is stealing the designs and brings him down by using cloth and a sewing machine. “Gives Crime –Co A Black-Eye” – Inch High notices that Lori is missing from the office, and he and Gator go to her apartment to find her not inside and signs of a struggle are all around, along with the help of trusty dog Braveheart they follow her scent and find her tied up and being held captive by Crime-Co who all rush out and think they have stomped Inch High to death! But in reality Inch High follows them to their hideout and uses Judo to take some of the bad guys out and just as Lori and Gator show up out front, Inch jumps from the window riding a paper airplane and has Gator use a sewer grate to block the door and hold the criminals inside until the police show up.
This is a fun kids comic based on the cartoon that has Inch Eye Private Eye in two adventures that have him stop crime as well as theft and all the while use his judo on those who cross his tiny path. The first case has him solving fashion theft and the second has him bringing down a crime syndicate that put a hit on him. Inch Eye in this comic is confidante and has great ideas to bring down crime, he also is skilled at fighting as he uses judo to throw around the bigger foes and can use his charm on the ladies to get answers. Inch Eye also uses his size to solve cases and is able to get into areas that others cant. Gator and Braveheart are around and add some needed muscle and tracking to the Private Eye team. Lori who is Inch Eye’s niece and secretary is also very helpful on trying to solve the cases, but I am pretty sure who ever wrote this comic had never seen an episode as at one point they do a cheesy proposal gag between Lori and Inch Eye…and as a reader I was like they are related and this is gross. The bad guys are very cookie cutter and are super easily beat and that’s fitting for a comic based on a Saturday Morning Cartoon. The stories have a good flow and build the case and then have a fun wrap up ending that has Inch Eye solving the case. But I will also say that I think modern readers who are not a fan of Inch Eye or even grew up watching the cartoon might find the comic a little boring cause its not your normal high action kids comics that we have today. The cover is great and very 70’s Whitman style and captures the mood and style of Inch Eye. The interior art is done by an unknown artist and is great stuff and looks just like the cartoon, so who ever did the art should be proud of themselves for doing it right. Over all this comic does a great job of capturing the over all look and vibe of the cartoon with only one hic-up being the weird Lori having a crush on Inch Eye thing. I would say if you watch or watched Inch Eye Private Eye you should check this comic out as I feel you would really enjoy it. Check out the art below to see the style used in this comic.
Inch High Private Eye was one of my favorite classic characters in the world that William Hanna and Joe Barbara created, and while he is not my top favorite, he definitely is in my Top 20 from them! For those wondering, Yogi Bear is my top Hanna-Barbara cartoon character with Scooby-Doo, Blue Falcon and Huckleberry Hound all being super high as well on my list. Well now that this Update Case is over we will be leaving the office of Inch High and will be heading to back to Skull Island as we have to cover Godzilla vs. Kong and the two graphic novels based on the Titans! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a cartoon or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for some Kaiju destruction.