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The cover to the original 1939 Madeline children's book.
Created byLudwig Bemelmans
Original workMadeline (1939)
Print publications
Book(s)See Madeline (book series)
Films and television
  • Madeline (1998)
  • My Fair Madeline (2002)
  • Madeline in Tahiti (2005)
Short film(s)Madeline (1952 short film)
Animated seriesMadeline (1993–2001)
Direct-to-videoMadeline: Lost in Paris (1999)
Video game(s)See Madeline (video game series)
Toy(s)Various (dolls and playsets)

Madeline is a media franchise that originated as a series of children's books written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans.[1] The books have been adapted into numerous formats, spawning telefilms, television series and a live action feature film. As a closing line, the adaptations invoke a famous phrase Ethel Barrymore used to rebuff curtain calls, "That's all there is, there isn't any more".[2] The stories take place in a Catholic boarding school in Paris. The teacher, named Miss Clavel, is strict but loves the children, cares for them, and is open to their ideas.

Most of the media starts with the line "In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines ..." The stories often are written entirely in rhyme, include simple themes of daily life, and the playful but harmless mischief of Madeline, which appeal to children and parents alike; while most of the books have several recurring themes, such as Miss Clavel turning on the light and saying: "Something is not right".

In literature[edit]

Madeline was written by Ludwig Bemelmans and published in 1939. Bemelmans wrote five sequels between 1953 and 1961. Later books in the series were written by Bemelmans' grandson John Bemelmans Marciano. The books focus on 12 girls in a Catholic boarding school in Paris. Madeline is the smallest of the girls, only seven years old and the only girl with red hair. She is the bravest and most outgoing of the girls. The images seem classical and show scenery and landmarks of the location where the story takes place such as the Eiffel Tower and the Seine River.

In the first book, Madeline gets sick, is taken to the hospital, has her appendix removed, and all the gifts she has received cause the other girls to become envious. In Madeline's Rescue she falls into the Seine River and brings back the dog that saved her life. In Madeline and the Bad Hat she meets Pepito, the son of the Spanish Ambassador to France, and works to convince him to change his naughty ways.

Dell Comics published a Four Color Comics issue in 1942 titled "Ludwig Bemelman's Madeline and Genevieve".[3]

In film[edit]

Animated shorts: The earliest appearance in the cinema was in the 1952 animated short Madeline, produced by United Productions of America (UPA) and directed by Bob Cannon. It was nominated for the 1952 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons), but lost to Tom and Jerry's 75th cartoon Johann Mouse.[4]

In 1959, William L. Snyder's Rembrandt Films produced animated adaptations of Madeline's Rescue, Madeline and the Bad Hat and Madeline and the Gypsies for the educational film market. The latter two were featured, along with other similar adaptations of children's books, in Snyder and Gene Deitch's 1966 theatrical feature Alice of Wonderland in Paris.[5][6][7]

Live-action film:

A live-action feature adaptation of Madeline, shot in France by Jaffilms but produced in England with predominantly British accents, was released in 1998 by TriStar Pictures. It starred Hatty Jones as the title character, Frances McDormand as Miss Clavel, and a supporting cast with British actors Ben Daniels and Nigel Hawthorne. Its script encompassed the plots of four of the books. Original music was composed by Michel Legrand and Carly Simon sang the theme song "In Two Straight Lines". It was directed by Daisy Mayer.[8][9] The 1998 live action version significantly differed from the TV series and the main book continuity. The filming location of the boarding house and neighbouring Spanish Ambassador's house, can be found at Avenue du Colifichet, Croissy-sur-Seine, although both houses are now obscured by hedging and fencing.

In television[edit]

In 1960, the Madeline stories were adapted to a one-hour color episode for the NBC series The Shirley Temple Show. In 1988, DIC Enterprises adapted the first book into an animated television special for HBO.[10] Between 1990 and 1991, Cinar and France animation produced animated adaptations of the other five original books for The Family Channel,[10] In 1993, DIC produced a Madeline television series of twenty episodes, which also aired on the Family Channel,[10] and in 1995, an additional 13 episodes were produced by DIC for ABC, under the title The New Adventures of Madeline.[10] Between 2000 and 2001, DIC produced 26 episodes for Disney Channel. It features songs written by Andy Street and Judy Rothman. Arguably, this rendition gave the characters their iconic designs.


Madeline audiobooks have been appearing since the early 1970s as vinyl records. The record typically consists of a mixture of stories and songs.

The first soundtrack for the TV series was Madeline's Favorite Songs, released in 1995. It contains 16 tracks of music composed by Joe Raposo or Jeffrey Zahn with lyrics by Judy Rothman from the DIC and Cinar specials.[11] The second soundtrack, Hats off to Madeline, was released in 1996. It contained 17 tracks of music from the 1993 and 1995 episodes with music by Andy Street and lyrics by Judy Rothman.[12] In 2002, the latest Madeline soundtrack to date, Sing-A-Long With Madeline, was released, featuring 27 tracks of music from the 2001 episodes and they were also written by Andy Street and Judy Rothman.[13]

Video games[edit]

Between 1995 and 1999, ten Madeline-themed educational point-and-click computer games were released by various developers.[14]


Madeline toys were initially produced by Eden Toys LLC, since acquired by Learning Curve. Most popular during the 1990s was a Madeline rag doll, with a signature half-smile and scar from the appendectomy that corresponds with the story from the book.[15] Eden's Madeline Doll House received the Toy of the Year Award for Best Specialty Toy at the first annual Toy Of The Year Awards in 2000.[16]

DVD releases[edit]


Title Region 1
release date
Region 2
release date
Madeline 15 December 1998 (1998-12-15)[17] 18 October 1998 (1998-10-18)[18] TriStar Pictures
My Fair Madeline 3 February 2009 (2009-02-03)[19] 1 October 2003 (2003-10-01)[20] MGM Home Entertainment
Madeline: Lost in Paris 13 April 2010 (2010-04-13)[21] 15 June 2011 (2011-06-15) Shout! Factory

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Author Ludwig Bemelmans". Barbara Bemelmans. Madeline.com. Archived from the original on 4 September 2004. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  2. ^ "Ethel Barrymore Is Dead at 79; One of Stage's 'Royal Family'". New York Times. 19 June 1959. Archived from the original on 2013-04-12. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  3. ^ "Four Color Comics (1942) #796". The Comic Book Database. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  4. ^ "Madeline (1952)". IMDB. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  5. ^ American Film Institute (1997). The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States. University of California Press. p. 17. ISBN 0-520-20970-2.
  6. ^ Phil Hall (6 October 2006). "The Bootleg Files:Alice of Wonderland in Paris". Film Threat. Archived from the original on 15 March 2009. Retrieved 30 August 2009.
  7. ^ Beck, Jerry (2005). The Animated Movie Guide. Chicago Review Press. p. 12. ISBN 1-55652-591-5.
  8. ^ "How the movie came to be..." Sony Pictures. Columbie TriStar Interactive. Archived from the original on 16 August 2002. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  9. ^ Hohenadel, Kristin (18 January 1998). "FILM; 'In an Old House In Paris'". New York Times. Retrieved 3 November 2007.
  10. ^ a b c d "ABOUT Madeline". Shout! Factory. Archived from the original on 11 April 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  11. ^ "Madelines Favorite Songs". Amazon. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  12. ^ "Hats Off To Madeline: Songs From The Hit TV Series [Soundtrack]". Amazon. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  13. ^ "Sing-A-Long With Madeline". Amazon. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  14. ^ Hafner, Katie (November 29, 1998). "Soft ware firms are finally making computer games designed for girls – Pack in Pink". Chicago Tribune. ProQuest 418699265. ... the Madeline series, based on the Ludwig Bemelmans character ...
  15. ^ "Madeline Toys". Madeline Online. Archived from the original on 11 August 2006. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  16. ^ "2000 TOTY Winners". The Toy Association. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  17. ^ "Madeline [DVD][1999]". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
  18. ^ Madeline (1998). ISBN 0767819659.
  19. ^ "My Fair Madeline". Amazon. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
  20. ^ "My Fair Madeline". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
  21. ^ "The Madeline Movie: Lost In Paris". Amazon. Retrieved 19 July 2010.

External links[edit]