Ernie the Taxi Driver:
With George Bailey in his life, Ernie Bishop is a happy, friendly guy who earns a modest living driving a taxi. He isn't rich and relies on his relationship with George to get a home loan. That comes back to bite George in the rear end a little bit. Ernie doesn't default on that loan, but Potter finds out about it and twists the facts.
|Ernie the Taxi Driver is on the right.|
In Pottersville, without George, Ernie is a suspicious, angry man.
George and Ernie's friendship goes back to childhood. While he is not identified in the film, he is one of the youth sledding down the hill at the beginning of the film.
Ernie holds up his end of the friendship by taking them to their honeymoon (even though they get stopped), standing by Mary as they face the mob during the bank run, and guiding the crowd as they enter the Bailey house in the famous final scene.
This is a valued friendship that stands the test of time.
Eight Thousand Dollars:
It's not a lot of money by today's standards, but the modern equivalent is quite a pocket full. In 1947, it represented not quite two years' wages for George.
It's also the amount of money Uncle Billy lost. He didn't really lose it, so much as misplace it in Potter's newspaper.
|Billy (right) taunting Potter (sitting). You can see the envelope |
containing $8,000 in Billy's left hand.
That money represents the Building and Loan's operating expenses and profits. What the Baileys are doing depositing it in Potter's bank instead of putting it back into their own business is beyond me. Regardless of the reason, with it missing, the future of the Building and Loan is in trouble, and so are Billy and George.
After a futile search and a selfish profit- and power-driven decision by Potter, it is the final factor that drives George to contemplate suicide.
When did money gain so much power over our lives?