Missing in Wrigleyville: Mae West

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A great dive soaks up the dust of the past.

There is no way a new place can be a dive. That new upscale tiki bar Three Dots and a Dive? Give it 20 years.

Yesterday’s, 1143 W. Addison [(773)-248-8087, no website of course) is a fine nostalgia shop to find divey merchandise, ranging from 1970s Cubs baseball cards to vintage movie posters. Yesterday’s opened in 1976.

It is in a rickety frame building constructed in 1884, older than Wrigley Field down the street.

But what happens when someone steals a life size cutout of actress Mae West from the front of the store?

You don’t rip off old stuff from a dive.

Even when sex symbol Mae West said, “I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it.”

For the past 10 years Yesterday’s owner Tom Boyle tied up Mae West against a CTA bus sign in front of his store. Last December someone walked off with the 6’ tall wooden figurine.

“You know when they have a (Christmas) bar hop?,” Boyle asked last week at his store. “I’m not lying when I say thousands of people came by. It was getting time to close and I told my associate to bring in Mae. He went out and she was gone. We were shocked. We looked all over thinking someone may have dropped her off somewhere.”

That’s no way to treat a lady.

Mae has never been recovered. Boyle filed a police report and her “kidnapping” was reported in the neighborhood Inside-Booster newspaper.

Unfortunately, Boyle never took any pictures of his favorite bootie.

A Mae West collector sold the figurine to Boyle, along with with the script from her final movie “Sextette” (1978) that featured Tony Curtis, Alice Cooper, Keith Moon and Ringo Starr among others.

“When Mae was out there people knew we were open,” Boyle said. “People stood in front of her and took pictures.” He priced the figurine at $100.

Nostalgia fans ranging from Star Wars era Harrison Ford to Jimmy Kimmel have visited Yesterday’s, which has “thousands” of old items, according to Boyle.

But the young whippersnappers who live in Wrigleyville know more about Kayne West than Mae West.

Boyle can pass along come cultural chestnuts. “You surely remember that show ‘Person to Person’,” he said. “Where they went into their home and talked to them?”

Well, no.

Edward R. Murrow hosted “Person to Person” between 1953 and 1961.

“Well, they went into Mae West’s home,” he continued. “They went into her bedroom and asked ‘Why do you have a mirror on the ceiling?’ She answered, ‘I like to check on how I’m doing’. Then they refused to air it.”

This isn’t the first time someone tried to steal an iconic figure from one of Wrigleyville’s last original dives. “We had a sign with Shirley Temple and baseball and two guys got on top of the roof,” recalled Boyle, 82. “They kicked it off. They were walking down Addison Street and were arrested. It took two people to carry it, where with Mae, one person could carry it.

“The police called me at three in the morning and told me to come to the Belmont lockup to see who took it. And it was my next door neighbor and his friend!!!. They were probably in their twenties’.”

Kids these days. You have to respect a dive.

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