Monday, May 7, 2018

WaMu Action Teller With Video

Washington Mutual Action Teller
A recent acquisition found on eBay is the 11-1/2-inch vinyl Washington Mutual Action Teller shown above. Found for a price I could not refuse, the doll arrived in never-removed from box state.  While preparing to enter the doll's information onto my doll inventory spreadsheet, after not finding a manufacturer's name or a copyright date on the box, I conducted a Google search and found the following August 7, 2001, article about the two versions that were created.

WaMu's tiny teller dolls drawing high interest

Seattle Times technology reporter
Inspired by the response Washington Mutual got from a commercial featuring a Washington Mutual doll, the Seattle thrift started selling its own action figures. Since December, the company says, it has sold several thousand to kids, adults and even competitors.
The Washington Mutual Action Teller comes in two versions: an African-American female and a Caucasian male.
The man is in standard dress code for the bank's Occasio branches: khakis, a denim chambray shirt, supershiny brown loafers and a sweater vest emblazoned with a Washington Mutual logo.
The woman, with an Oprah hairdo, wears a WaMu-logo blue oxford and a khaki skirt. The two also come with sportier shorts-and-polo volunteer outfits, tote bag and cell phone.
Real-life WaMu tellers, however, are not provided with wireless phones and are allowed to wear black pants if they wish, spokeswoman Sheri Pollock said.
Each doll costs $19.95 and can be ordered at the thrift's branches or online.
In comparison, a McDonald's Barbie made by Mattel costs $16.99 and comes equipped with a tray of McDonald's food, headset, infant Kelly, a tiny cash register and even tiny bills to fit inside.
Action Teller does not come with fake, or real, money.
The dolls aren't exactly Barbie quality, either. Seams run up the figures' legs, and the male teller has plastic molded hair and two prominent craters in his back where the screws go.
Female Action Teller fares slightly better with painted white panties, but her high heels require rubber bands to stay on her feet.
"The response has been very good," said Pollock.

A WaMu trading card, a black cell phone, and extra Committed Active Neighbors (CAN!) program fashion are included with the doll.

Based on the above article, I assume the doll was released to the market in 2001.  The year of manufacture or copyright year was probably 2000 as dolls are usually released a year after the copyright has been established.  Another online article linked to the following promotional video for the WaMu Action Teller dolls.

Below are additional photos of my doll whose "Oprah-style-described" hair looks more like a British guard cap or busby.  They tried.

My doll's bubble-cut hairstyle, as mentioned above, looks like a hair hat.  She has brown painted eyes and a smiling mouth with parted lips and painted undefined teeth.   Her extra CAN! fashion includes a white logo'd polo-style shirt, tan shorts, white sneakers, and a tan CAN! tote bag.

One side panel of the box describes WaMu's CAN! program as follows:
What is CAN!?
Committed Action Neighbors
In the CAN! program, Washington Mutual employees get together to work on projects for non-profits in their communities.  In 1999, Washington Mutual employees volunteered more than 145,000 hours on CAN! projects.  Washington Mutual CAN! teams make effective, meaningful contributions to their neighborhoods while having fun.
The back of the doll's box illustrates a full-length view of the doll (shown below) and the actual way the hair was meant to be styled.

The WaMu teller wears a blue long-sleeved button-down Washington Mutual shirt with a tan pencil skirt and black pumps.

Washington Mutual Bank was purchased by J. P. Morgan Chase in September 2008.  Both versions of the nonarticulated action tellers are frequently listed on eBay.

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  1. That's a cute concept for the bank to come out with dolls based on tellers. The video made me smile, calling these non-articulated dolls "action dolls" and the box stating "No Batteries!" Batteries for what? And yes, the hair doesn't quite look like the style on the back of the box or in the video. I'm glad that this doll was available to inspire kids who may have wanted to go into banking, and that these dolls are around for collectors to enjoy.

    1. I agree, Roxanne, dolls that represent bank tellers was a nice concept. Why they chose to label these action tellers is beyond my comprehension.


  2. Interesting ... I've never seen bank teller dolls before. Nice that the Washington Mutual Bank thought their workers (representatives of them) would sell as action figures. Cute novelty. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I'm not sure if these started out as a gag initially, D7ana, but I am happy they were produced.



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