This is a portion of a DVD Beaver frame capture from the new Arrow Bluray of Robert Altman‘s The Long Goodbye (’73). So $5000 bills (last printed in 1934) were actually kicking around in the early ’70s? Printed money doesn’t gain in value as the years roll on, of course, but the U.S. Labor Department inflation counter says the purchasing power of $5 grand in ’73 was/is equal to around $26 grand today. So finding a $5000 bill “in a box of Crackerjacks,” as Elliot Gould‘s Phillip Marlowe explained to Mark Rydell‘s Marty Augustine, was quite a discovery.
You can purchase a reasonably well-engineered new car for $26 grand today. Costofliving.com says that the average 1973 car cost $3650, and that could you buy a new Ford Thunderbird (a snazzy car by ’73 standards) for $5 grand.