The main reason I dislike that story is Potter never got his comeuppance. He got away with keeping that money. My best all favorite Christmas film is Christmas Carol with Alister Sim.
Yes, we all want cosmic justice, but the fact is that most comeuppance will be delivered at the Great White Throne judgement.
But Potter had to be a miserable, crippled old man whom everybody hated. George was so loved, his many friends and relatives happily rallied to come up with money to get him out of a jam. So it doesn't matter that the mean old miser got to keep the cash, George had the wonderful life.
Sky, I was reading what you said. Last year, I put to (electronic) paper am idea I’d had rolling around in my head for a few years.
I’ve heard there WAS a scene in which Clarence the angel confronted Potter about what he did, but it was cut from the final draft. I decided to write down my interpretation of what I thought it might look like. Here it is...
(BTW, it was ‘published’ on fanfic.com first)
CLARENCE AND POTTER-WHAT HAPPENED
George Bailey ran up to the window of the bank. He banged on the window and yelled “Merry Christmas, Mr. Potter!”
Potter looked at the crazed man in the window and replied gruffly, “And a Happy New Year to you...in jail! Go on home, they’re waiting for you.”
After George ran off towards his home, Potter grumbled to his bodyguard, “Why is he so happy? He’s got the bank examiner and the sheriff waiting at his home, ready to haul him off to prison.” He grunted and a slight smile ran across his face. “At least I’ll finally be rid of that thorn in my side, and about time!” He looked at his bodyguard and said, “Go and get the car warmed up. I’ll be ready to go in about 10 minutes.” With that, the other man left the office and closed the door.
Potter continued going over the last little bit of paperwork on his desk. He was looking forward to going home to his mansion to spend a quiet Christmas Eve...alone...just the way he wanted. As he tucked the page he was reading into a folder, he gave a tired sigh and looked toward the window, watching the falling snow.
“Think you’ve won, don’t you?”
Potter started at the quiet, gravelly voice that came out of nowhere. He swiveled his head around to the source of the voice. Standing in the corner of the office was an older man, a bit short, with white hair. He was wearing an overcoat and a fedora. He had his hands in the pockets of his overcoat and his gaze was fixed on Potter. There was something about the stranger’s gaze that un-nerved Potter...and that was something he was not used to.
Potter called to his bodyguard, “Frank! Frank! Help! There’s an intruder in my office!”
“He can’t hear you, Henry” said the little man, “and you don’t need him. I’m not going to hurt you.” The man smiled a kind of a half-smile, “Although after what you did to poor George, the thought had crossed my mind.” He looked skyward, “Yes, just for a second. Only being honest.”
Potter wasn’t sure who this strange little man was talking to, but he was in no mood to find out. He yelled, “I don’t know what you want, but I’m telling you to leave, right this instant!”
The little man took a slow step away from the corner and cocked his head to one side. “Oh, don’t you worry, I’ll leave...I don’t like being in a room filled with as much greed and hatred as this place is.” The man looked around the office and kind of shuddered a little. He then fixed his gaze back on the old man in the wheelchair, “Henry, you did a despicable thing today when you stole that money from George Bailey’s uncle.”
“Steal it? Ha! I just saw it there on the counter and...,” he chuckled a little, “...tucked it away for ‘safe keeping’”. Potter’s face then turned into a snarl, “It was misplaced! Bailey shouldn’t have trusted that old fool! And what business is it of yours? You one of those ne’er-do-wells he calls ‘friends’?”
The little man in the overcoat removed his hat and fingered the brim like he was playing with it, “My name is Clarence, and although I doubt it means anything to you, I guess you could say I am one of his friends.” Clarence then looked up at Potter, this time with his eyes showing a hardness that belied his gentle appearance, “Not that you’d know what a friend is.”
Potter looked at the man in disgust and fixed him with an icy stare. “Friends? No one needs friends! A man stands alone on his accomplishments!”
Clarence raised an eyebrow, “Spoken by a man who can’t even stand.”
Potter glared at him.
Clarence continued, “You stole $8000 from a man who never did a thing to hurt you, then you made sure that the man you stole it from was going to jail so you could get him out of your way. No thought about the man’s wife or his children. No thought to the people he helps out. No thought except how Henry F. Potter gets ahead.” Clarence shook his head and looked just a little sad, “How utterly, horribly selfish you are.”
Potter slammed his hands down on his desk, “What business it that of yours?!?”
The little man didn’t flinch but instead bored his gaze into Potter all the more. “Kindness towards others is everyone’s business, Henry! You had a chance to spend your life and your wealth helping others. You could have been a benefactor to many, many people...yet you chose to live as a miser, acquiring more money than you could spend in a lifetime-and for what? You don’t even have anyone to pass it along to.” Clarence straightened himself a little and continued, “Let me tell you what’s going to happen to George Bailey. He’s going to come home to his children and his loving wife. Those men will be there, like you said, but then something wonderful is going to happen. George’s friends...yes, those people you describe as ‘ne’er-do-wells’...are going to come to his aid. They’re going to provide him with the help he needs to make up the difference of the money you stole. In fact, they’re going to give him abundantly more than he could imagine. He won’t be going to jail, and you will not have succeeded in wrongfully destroying a good man.” Potter didn’t answer the little man; he just stared at him with a sour expression.
“Let me ask you a question, Henry. Do you know the story of the rich man, found in the book of Luke, chapter 12?”
Potter grunted, “The Bible? A bunch of old fairy tales for the weak-minded.”
Clarence gave a sad sigh, “That’s really too bad. If you’d read it, youâd know what’s coming. Oh, well.” The white-haired little man put his hat back on and turned to go. “You can’t say you weren’t warned. Good day, Henry.”
Potter growled at the man as he reached for the door, “Don’t you ever come back in here again!”
“Don’t worry, Potter...I won’t.” Clarence turned his head toward Potter as he opened the door and said with a somber look on his face, “Then again...neither will you.” The little man closed the door behind him.
Potter sat there, wondering what nonsense that strange little man meant. And how on earth did he get in there, anyway? It was just then that his bodyguard came back into the office. “Frank...did you see that little old man that just came from my office?”
Frank looked puzzled. “Mr. Potter, sir...I saw no one come in or out of your office. Are you alright?”
Potter had a look of confusion for a moment, but then it left. “Humph...no matter. Time to go home.” Potter’s bodyguard came behind the wheelchair and pushed it out of the office, turning to lock the door.
Later, at his home, Potter laid in his bed, wondering what the strange little man meant by what he said. He muttered, “Crazy old coot” and drifted off to sleep. Instead of dreams, he began to feel warm.