What would you pay for this fishbowl now? Tell us HERE
Every morning, Glenn gathers his producers into his office in Dallas (NY joins via video chat) and lays out his plans for the day. Usually its a pretty uneventful, but today Glenn stopped mid-sentence, walked across the room going “Oh no oh no oh no oh no oh no oh no!” before picking up a fishbowl calling out for his assistant Julie. The producers were silent, wondering why Glenn was suddenly freaking out over a fishbowl. And then he revealed that it was signed by his hero Orson Welles, but someone had washed it and the signature was all but gone.
“This is a 50 cent fish bowl. It’s cheap. It was from about 1940s. Yesterday it wasn’t a 50 cent fish bowl,” he explained on radio.
“I was the winner of an auction. You know I’m buying American collectibles and things like that and I was in a ‑‑ I was in an auction for several things. One of them was the original typewriter that Orson Welles used to type Citizen Kane. Lost that one. Lost that one in a big way. Big way. I bailed on that one fast. But I did get from his estate originally sold in 1992 a fish bowl that had been hand‑painted by Orson Welles and signed by Orson Welles,” he explained.
“I won this auction about a month ago. I got it yesterday and I put it on my desk.”
“I put it on my desk yesterday thinking, you know, I’ll look at it tomorrow. You know how I feel about Orson Welles. We named Mercury after ‑‑ my company’s named after his company. So I thought, this is really cool. I’m glad to have the fish bowl.”
“So here’s what happened. We have somebody who cleans our offices who is ‑‑ I can’t be pissed at her because here’s somebody who wants to go above and beyond. Here’s somebody who wants to do the right thing, somebody who saw a fish bowl that looks like it hadn’t been cleaned since 1940. And took it in and washed it. Scrubbed, scrubbed the signature, scrubbed all the little fishies, scrubbed it all.”
“Nobody even had a chance to even look at it yesterday. Oh, those days don’t come back. That opportunity doesn’t come back,” he said.
While Glenn has collected tons of historical memorabilia, the fishbowl had a special significance because of Glenn’s admiration for Orson Welles. From a business and creative standpoint, Welles stands up there with Walt Disney in Glenn’s heroes in the arts.
“You know what? Honestly it was a filthy fish bowl and she took the time, she looked at it and she was like, I’ve got to clean that. Now, I don’t know, and I don’t want to know. When she was scrubbing Orson Welles’ art off of it and she was scrubbing that signature, ‘I just can’t get that thing that looks like Orrin Walls or something, I can’t get that off.’”
“I want to know how it died. That’s what I want to know. Did it die a quick death? Did she ‑‑ was she just trying to clean the inside and then when she was drying it all of the artwork came off of the front and she was like, ‘Oh, crap?’”
Glenn joked that in addition to the fishbowl, he was worried that the old newspapers on his desk – including some announcing the Emancipation Proclamation – got thrown out in the same cleaning effort.
But at the end of all the jokes – Glenn admitted that he felt bad because this one-of-a-kind piece of history has been lost due to his own incompetence. Rather than locking it up or putting it somewhere safe, Glenn just left it on his desk.
“I feel bad honestly. This is the worst part of it. I feel bad because it cannot be replaced.”
“Let this be a lesson to me of not leaving dirty things on my desk. If I have something that’s historic (value) I should treat it (as such) – not leave it on my locked office on my desk,” Glenn said.