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One of Center City’s great pop culture icons has vanished without a trace: The near-lifesize mascot that lived in the window of the Wendy’s outpost at 15th and Chestnut is no longer there.
According to store manager Ray Phillips, the doll disappeared at some point in mid-September.
“Somebody stole it,” Phillips told Billy Penn. “There was some concert, and afterwards there was a huge crowd in here, and when they left, we noticed it was gone.”
That may come as something of a relief to the office workers, shoppers and residents who regularly walked by the storefront, since the three-foot-tall freckled figure sent a searing gaze from her plastic-lidded eyes that felt like it threatened to suck any living person straight into the uncanny valley.
The “creepy mannequin” was referenced often in Yelp reviews of the store, whether they were 1-star or 4-star writeups.
But her disappearance is also sad, because “Scary Wendy,” as she had been fondly nicknamed, was a fixture.
Her presence in the window, which made her seem like she was lurking on anyone having a conversation or catching a quick break outside, was a testament to Philly’s uniqueness. It sent the message, “Yeah, we’re a world class city, but we’re also not afraid to be weird.”
The team at the Chestnut Street Wendy’s is certainly feeling the loss. Per Phillips, management is actively working to see if they can get it replaced. “Emails have been sent,” he confirmed.
Phillips also affirmed that the doll is not necessarily part of standard Wendy’s decor — “I actually haven’t seen it at other stores, no,” he said.
However, it had been standing in its lookout perch at 1501 Chestnut St. ever since the location opened its doors, he said. (That was around two or three years ago, when it moved from 1513 Chestnut St. up the block.)
Do you have a Scary Wendy story? Let us know.