The Dark Knight: "That's funny, it didn't dial out to 911......"

In The Dark Knight’s opening scene, one of the bank robbers is doing something to the bank’s silent alarm system and he comments to one of his fellow henchmen: “That’s funny, it didn’t dial out to 911; it was trying to reach a private number.”
My understanding of this is that since the bank was a mob bank, it would not want police to get involved if there were a robbery and hence the “private number” reached by the silent alarm was probably the contact number for some mafia/mobster guys whose job it was to serve as protection or defense of the bank if it came under attack, right?
Some other unrelated questions:

Why was it necessary for the Joker to get personally involved in such a dangerous job where the chances of him getting killed were high? Yes, he’s crazy, but what for?

Also, what bank robbers in their right minds give their victims hand grenades? The victims could just…throw the hand grenades at the robbers while the robbers’ backs are turned.

It’s my understanding that yes, the private number was to someone working for the mob. As the manager said, “You have any idea who you’re messing with?! You and your friends are DEAD!”

Yes, The Joker is crazy enough to participate in the scheme himself. And it worked, didn’t it? He even tried to get one of his guys killed by the bank manager: “He’s out, right?” [thinks; nods] BANG! “Where did you learn to count?!”

Judging by the hand grenade they gave the bank manager, they were all duds, or just spewed that… smoke stuff.
I… may have watched the opening of the movie a hundred zillion times when I was working at Blockbuster and we had to play it as a sneak-preview of the film to boost pre-order numbers. (This part was a special feature on the Batman Begins special-edition Blu-ray.)

People in their right minds don’t rob banks to begin with.

It wasn’t just craziness. The whole point of robbing that particular mob bank of all its mob money was so that the Joker could get the attention of the mob. Literally the next thing we see him do is confront them in their kitchen and negotiate “half” for killing Batman. The fact that he has “all” is what gives him standing to negotiate with them.

In order for him to get all the mob money: a) the rest of the gang need to bump each other off and b) he needs to be the one who drives the bus away. If he weren’t there, it’s entirely possible that the last guy standing, having been a given a sharp lesson in the merits of looking out for number one, would decide not to drive the bus back to where the Joker would be waiting for it.

The Joker’s craziness manifests in his worldview, and his ability to conceive of plans that others would never even consider. It doesn’t manifest in aimless stunts (despite what he later tells Harvey). For example, he gave the manager a harmless smoke bomb, not a hand grenade.

I agree with the first part but the second part isn’t exactly what I remember. I do recall Lau on the TV set saying “a relatively small amount…68 million” was stolen from the bank by a clown who wears cheap make up and a purple suit, and then Lau goes on to say he’s already moved a ton of money from another bank because he knew the police were about to raid it. Then the Joker appears in the meeting and wants half of all the remaining money the mob has as a fee for killing Batman. Then later on we also have the scene with Dent and Gordon on the rooftop where Gordon says, “we’re going after the mob’s life savings. Things will get ugly.”

Anyway, my point is, the Joker didn’t have “all” their money when he walked into that meeting, just a small amount from one of many mob banks.

Fair point. Even as I was writing it I was thinking “Surely, surely, the mob didn’t keep it all in cash.” And of course they didn’t.

I can never get how someone could go along with ‘Once this guy complete’s his task, kill him and we split his share’. How can you not think that the boss plans to kill you too? The 2nd to last guy to get killed in the bank finally wised up and realized this, not knowing he was actually talking to the boss.

Once you get a rep for killing the guys on your job, how do you get new guys?

“Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just… do things.”

Because the Joker is a master manipulator. While he has a few tricks up his sleeve depending on the specific era or medium, his specialty or superpower is the ability to get inside anybody’s head. Or arguably, everybody’s simultaneously, since he’s pretty good at riding mass chaos wherever he wants to go.

Yeah, his superpower is that he’s so crazy, it’s contagious. He’s so crazy, in fact, that he’s even able to bestow enough craziness on Harleen Quinzell that she becomes superpowered crazy, and still be even crazier than her. The guys who work for him do so because they’re insane, and they’re insane because they work for him.