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

Much of the media start 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. Most of the books have several recurring themes, such as Miss Clavel turning on the light and saying: "Something is not right."

In literature

Madeline was written in 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 a group of girls in a Catholic boarding school in Paris. Madeline is the smallest of the girls. She is seven years old, and the only redhead. 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 and has her appendix removed to the envy of all the other girls. In Madeline's Rescue she falls into the Seine River and brings back the dog that saved her life. Dell Comics published a Four Color Comics issue in 1942 titled "Ludwig Bemelman's Madeline and Genevieve".

In film

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 seventh cartoon Johann Mouse.

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.

Live-Action film:

A live-action feature adaptation of Madeline, produced in France by Jaffilms but shot in English 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. 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

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. Between 1990 and 1991, Cinar and France animation produced animated adaptations of the other five original books for The Family Channel, In 1993, DIC produced a Madeline television series of twenty episodes, which also aired on the Family Channel, and in 1995, an additional 13 episodes were produced by DIC for ABC, under the title The New Adventures of Madeline. Between 2000 and 2001, DIC produced 26 episodes for Disney Channel. It features songs written by Andy Street and Judy Rothman.


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 and Howard Ashman from the DIC and Cinar specials. 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. 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.

Video games


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. 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.

DVD releases