Madeline is a media franchise centered around the adventures of a small Parisian girl at boarding school who gets into extraordinary amounts of trouble. Based on a series of childrens’ books by Austrian author Ludwig Bemelmans, the series has spawned animated series, live-action movies, television specials, modern books, and more. Bemelmans died in 1962, but his books were published posthumously, and his grandson John Bemelmans Marciano continued the series into the 21st century.
Madeline’s adventures are frequently compared inversely to her size; though she is the smallest of her class, she frequently gets herself in the most danger or becomes embroiled in an improbable amount of drama. Though her first “adventure” was more low-key (she contracted appendicitis, much to the worry of her classmates and teacher Miss Clavel), Bemelmans’ second book saw her falling off a bridge and rescued by a stray dog named Genevieve (who became a major character in all subsequent stories and adaptations). Subsequent stories saw Madeline run away to join a group of gypsies, travel to England, and meet a spoiled diplomat’s son.
Bemelmans’ original series was beloved by children since its first printing in 1939 and adapted for television several times in the ensuing decades. In 1988, the first book was adapted into an animated TV special for HBO and was subsequently nominated for an Emmy, gaining fresh interest in the series. The other five of Bemelmans’ books were adapted immediately afterward and aired between 1991 and 1992. From 1993 to 1995, thirty-four Madeline stories were produced for The New Adventures of Madeline, an animated children’s show on ABC, with 26 new episodes made in 2000 for the show’s new home on the Disney Channel. In 1998, a live-action film simply called Madeline was released in the U.S., starring Hatty Jones in the title role and featuring Frances McDormand as Miss Clavel.
Madeline’s Rescue (1953)
Madeline and the Bad Hat (1956)
Madeline and the Gypsies (1959)
Madeline in London (1960)
Madeline’s Christmas (1985)
Madeline in America and Other Holiday Tales (1999)
Madeline and the Cats of Rome (2008)
Madeline at the White House (2011)
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