August 17, 2019


(The Family Channel, September 14-November 29, 1993
ABC, September 9-December 2, 1995
Disney Channel, September 9, 2000-March 1, 2001)

DiC Entertainment

Tracey-Lee Smythe - Madeline (season 1), Danielle (season 2)
Andrea Libman – Madeline (season 2-3 & 1st film)
Stevie Vallance (as Stephanie Louise Vallance) – Genevieve, Miss Clavel
Whoopi Goldberg – Miss Clavel (2nd film)
Jane Mortifee – Miss Clavel (3rd film)
Kelly Sheridan – Danielle (season 1)
Chantal Strand – Danielle (season 3), Madeline (2nd & 3rd film)
Ashleigh Ball – Danielle (3rd film)
A.J. Bond (season 1), David Morse (season 2), Michael Hayward (season 3), Alex Hood (1st film) & James Street (3rd film) – Pepito
Vanessa King - Chloe (season 1-2)
Shannon Chan Kent – Chloe (2nd & 3rd film)
Kristin Fairlie – Nicole (season 1)
Veronika Sztopa – Nicole (season 2), Chloe (season 3)
Brittney Irvin – Nicole (season 3 & 2nd film)
Jessie Young – Nicole (2nd film)
Britt McKillip – Nicole (3rd film)
Sonja Ball – Marie (season 1-2)
French Tickner – Lord Cucuface
Christopher Plummer – Narrator (season 1-2 & 1st film)
Christopher Gaze – Narrator (season 3, 2nd & 3rd film)

            Madeline is a media franchise that has spanned television, films, comic books, computer games, and toys. But it began as a series of children’s books created by Ludwig Bemelmans. Bemelmans had been writing children’s since 1934 after forming a relationship with Viking Press editor May Massee. But his most famous creation would come in 1939.

The original Madeline cover.

 The series centered on the titular character--who was named after his wife—that was one of twelve girls (all unnamed until the animated adaptations) attending a Catholic boarding school in Paris. All of the girls looked similar except for Madeline, who was not only the smallest of them but the only one to have red hair. She was adventurous and inquisitive, which often meant she found herself in mischief. Their teacher was Miss Clavel, who was strict but loving and genuinely cared for her charges and their ideas. Lord Cucuface was chairman of the school’s board of trustees, and although he often tried to lay down the law, he was really a big softie.

Miss Clavel and her charges.

Bemelmans wrote the books in verse, often starting with “In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines…” and ending with Ethel Barrymore’s famous closing line to rebuff curtain calls “that’s all there is, there isn’t any more”. Bemelmans illustrated them from an overhead point of view which was deceptively simplistic for younger readers but artistically complex for adults. Perhaps too complex, as Massee ended up deeming the book too sophisticated for Viking to publish.

So, the first book, titled simply Madeline, was published by Simon & Schuster instead. In it, Madeline was rushed to the hospital for an appendicitis. The book sold well and was named a Caldecott Honor Book for 1940. In 1952, United Productions of America adapted the book into a 6-minute animated theatrical short that was nominated for an Academy Award. Realizing their error, Viking published the sequel books beginning with 1953’s Madeline’s Rescue. Each subsequent book introduced the girls’ pet dog, Genevieve, their neighbor, the Spanish Ambassador, and his son, Pepito, as well as Pepito’s naughty cousins. Five books in total were published in Bemelmans’ lifetime, with one sitting in the pages of the August 1961 issue of Holiday Magazine until it was finally released as a book in 1985. All but that story would go on to become audio books recorded by Carol Channing, and the first three sequels would become educational films by Rembrandt Films. Bemelmans would pass away in 1964, but his creation would continue to live on. Beginning in 1999, his grandson, John Bemelmans-Marciano, produced and released 6 new books through Scholastic’s former Arthur A. Levine imprint.

In 1960, Madeline came to television as the books were adapted into a one-hour color episode of The Shirley Temple Show; starring Gina Gillespie as Madeline, Michel Petit as Pepito and Imogene Coca as Miss Clavel. Madeline would return to animation in 1988 when DiC Entertainment adapted the first book into a special for HBO that received an Emmy Award nomination. The remaining books were adapted for The Family Channel by CINAR and France Animation Studios between 1990 and 1991.

Madeline and Genevieve.

With each special proving a success, The Family Channel decided to go all the way and turn Madeline into an animated series. Going back to DiC, and with no more material from the books to adapt, the series went on to feature original stories with life-lessons that emulated Bemelmans’ work. Returning from the specials was Judy Rothman Rofé as a writer, lyricist and story editor and Christopher Plummer reprising his role as the narrator. Joining Rofé on writing duties was Susan Amerikaner, Betty Birney, Diane M. Fresco, Cambria Gordon, Rowby Goren, Anthony Kant, Sandy Kopitopoulos, Peter Landecker, Stephan Martiniére, Martha Moran, Sandra Ryan, Reed Shelly, Janice Sonski and Shelley Zellman.

Miss Clavel dealing with Pepito's mischief.

Madeline made its debut on September 14, 1993 on The Family Channel. Its original theme was “I’m Madeline”, originally composed by Joe Raposo for the specials with lyrics by Rofé and re-recorded by the series’ new voice cast. Assuming the role of Madeline was Tracey Lee Smythe, with Stephanie Louise Vallance (also doubling as a voice director) as Genevieve and Miss Clavel, A.J. Bond as Pepito and French Tickner as Lord Cucuface. Each actor used a French accent to emphasize the setting of the series, as well as a sprinkling of authentic French words in their dialogue. Following the death of Raposo and the departure of his replacement on the specials, Jeffrey Zahn, Andy Street took over composing duties for the show with Rofé still providing lyrics. Each episode contained one song number, and Plummer’s narration began and ended the same was as the original books. Animation duties for the season were handled by Plus One Animation Co., Ltd.

Madeline ran for 20 episodes, proving a ratings success for The Family Channel. It was decided to try and expand the audience by bringing it to network television. In 1995 the show came to ABC under the title The New Adventures of Madeline. Andrea Libman took over the role of Madeline while Smythe became the new voice for classmate Danielle. David Morse also took over as Pepito. While “I’m Madeline” was retained for several episodes, the series had a new theme in “Hats Off to Madeline” by Street and Rothman and a new animation company in Sae Rom Animation, Inc. Debuting on September 9, 1995, the new season proved a ratings disaster; the lowest of any of ABC’s offerings that season. After its 13 episodes had aired, ABC pulled it off its schedule and replaced it with reruns of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

Lord Cucuface preparing for one of his trips with the girls.

That could have been the end of Madeline if The Disney Channel had not acquired rerun broadcast rights in 1997. Once again proving a ratings success on cable television, Disney Channel commissioned the creation of a third season of all-new episodes. At this time, DiC was a subsidiary of Disney and the year before had released the first entry into their direct-to-video division, Madeline: Lost in Paris. Although Plummer remained for the film, Christopher Gaze took over as the narrator for the season and several of the girls’ actors were shuffled or replaced. Pepito also received a new voice actor in Michael Hayward (following Alex Hood in the film). A new recording of “Hats off to Madeline” was used as the theme (however, the 2001 home video releases used a different song called “Our Madeline”). Pre-production animation work was handled by Slightly Off Beat Productions while Hong Ying Universe handled the post-production.

Miss Clavel leading the girls out of the Old House.

Still going under The New Adventures title, the third season debuted on September 9, 2000 and ran for a total of 26 final episodes. The series was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Animated Program in 2001 and won in 2002. DiC would go on to produce two more films in the franchise. My Fair Madeline aired in 2002 as part of DiC Movie Toons on Nickelodeon, which only saw Ticker and Gaze returning and Chantal Strand, who played Danielle in the third season, taking over as Madeline. Vallance was also present as Genevieve, but Whoopi Goldberg replaced her as Miss Clavel. The final film, Madeline in Tahiti, was made in 2005 and released in 2007.

Miss Clavel is kidnapped by Quasimodo.

A series of 10 educational point-and-click computer games were made between 1995 and 1999. The Magnificent Puppet Show, Thinking Games, European Adventures, Classroom Companion: Preschool and Kindergarten and 1st and 2nd Grade were all published by Creative Wonders (a joint venture between ABC and Electronic Arts); Thinking Games Deluxe, Rainy Day Activities, 1st and 2nd Grade Reading and 1st and 2nd Grade Reading Deluxe were published by its successor, The Learning Company; and 1st and 2nd Grade Math was published by its successor, Mattel Interactive. The games were made in cooperation with the animated series, utilizing the “I’m Madeline” theme and the first season voice cast; in particular Smythe, who was featured in every game. In fact, several of the animators who made the game had worked on the animated series.

Complete DVD set.

Classic Media released the first season through Sony Wonder on VHS and DVD starting in 1998. Buena Vista Home Video released Lost in Paris onto VHS in 1999, and it was later re-released onto DVD by Shout! Factory in 2010. The third season was released by Lions Gate Home Entertainment and Trimark Home Video on various VHS and DVD sets between 2001 and 2002. MGM Home Entertainment released My Fair Madeline onto DVD in 2002 as well. Madeline in Tahiti was released in some regions in 2007, but didn’t go worldwide until it was made available for streaming on iTunes and Amazon Video in 2015. In 2013, Mill Creek Entertainment released three single-disc collections: Adventures in Paris featured 6 episodes from season 3; Merry Musical Melodies contained various musical numbers from the show; and Bonjour Madeline contained all 6 TV specials. In 2014, they combined the three releases into a box set as well as released Madeline: The Complete Collection containing every episode plus the 6 specials. 

Season 1:
“Madeline and the 40 Thieves” (9/14/93) – When hats, gloves and scarves go missing all over town, Madeline, Pepito and Detective Moreau work together to solve the case.

“Madeline and the Dog Show” (9/18/93) – Genevieve is disqualified from the dog show for not being a purebred until she rescues the Mayor’s dog.

“Madeline and the Easter Bonnet” (9/22/93) – Madeline makes a new hat for the milk horse, but the wind carries it away to the shop of a struggling designer.

“Madeline and the New House” (9/26/93) – The Old House ends up condemned and the girls are forced to relocate to a new one where the neighbors don’t particularly like them.

“Madeline and the Soccer Star” (9/30/93) – Everyone looks down at Madeline’s cousin visiting from the country until he’s needed to help in the big soccer match.

“Madeline and the Toy Factory” (10/4/93) – A visit to the toy factor ends up with Madeline being accidentally boxed up as a doll and sold to a handicapped girl.

“Madeline at the Cooking School” (10/8/93) – Lord Cucuface enrolls the students into a cooking school, but come Madeline doesn’t receive her diploma since she gave her food to the hungry.

“Madeline at the Ballet” (10/12/93) – The girls are going to perform with a famed ballet master, but Madeline becomes insecure when she’s believed too small to succeed.

“Madeline and the Singing Dog” (10/16/93) – After Genevieve is kicked out of the opera for singing along, she ends up dognapped by an impresario and put into a dinner theater show.

“Madeline’s Winter Vacation” (10/29/93) – The girls and Pepito visit Miss Clavel’s aunt and nephew at their alpine chalet where they become trapped by an avalanche.

“Madeline in Hollywood” (10/24/93) – Madeline is cast in a movie with her idol who turns out to be a spoiled brat.

“Madeline and the Pirates” (10/28/93) – Lord Cucuface takes the girls and Pepito on a cruise, but after they dock Madeline and Pepito are swept away in the boat when the line breaks.

“Madeline’s Birthday at the Zoo” (11/1/93) – Pepito’s father takes him and Madeline to the zoo so the girls can get ready for her birthday party, and a monkey escapes and causes trouble.

“Madeline at the Louvre” (11/5/93) – When Madeline accidentally leaves her painting at the Louvre, it’s mistaken for a masterpiece and hung next to the Mona Lisa.

“Madeline and the Missing Clown” (11/9/93) – Miss Clavel takes the girls to the circus, but the clown scheduled to perform is nowhere to be found.

“Madeline and the Costume Party” (11/13/93) – Everyone’s excited for the costume party at Pepito’s house until all the girls come down with a case of chicken pox.

“Madeline and the Old Violin” (11/17/93) – The girls are scheduled to put on a performance, but the only one of them with any musical talent ends up too injured to perform.

“Madeline and the Mean, Nasty Horrible Hats” (11/21/93) – The girls visit Pepito’s relatives in Spain where they meet his naughty and mischievous cousins.

“Madeline and the Talking Parrot” (11/25/93) – Madeline tries to return a parrot who constantly repeats the same street names over and over.

“Madeline in New York” (11/29/93) – In exchange for the first home run ball of the season, a millionaire gives Madeline the Brooklyn Bridge.

Season 2:
“Madeline and the Lost Crown” (9/9/95) – Madeline convinces the prince of Monaco to leave his crown to pretend to be a normal boy, but they find it missing when they return.

“Madeline on the Orient Express” (9/16/95) – On the way to a spelling bee Madeline and Pepito volunteer to help a snake charmer find his lost snake.

“Madeline and the Dinosaur Bone” (9/23/95) – The girls are excited when Genevieve finds a dinosaur bone until the Old House is besieged by scientists.

“Madeline and the Magic Carpet” (9/30/95) – Pepito throws away a lamp when it fails to produce a genie, but a magic carpet comes to Madeline to help it find the lamp which does have a genie.

“Madeline and the Treasure Hunt” (10/7/95) – The girls participate in a treasure hunt but end up spending most of their time helping others in need.

“Madeline and the Mummy” (10/14/95) – While on a trip to Egypt the kids become lost in the pyramids where a mummy puts a curse on them.

“Madeline’s Detective School” (10/21/95) – Madeline starts a detective school to raise money for Miss Clavel’s gift, but ends up having to find out who’s trying to frame her for theft instead.

“Madeline and the Hunchback of Notre Dame” (10/28/95) – Visiting Notre Dame to convince Pepito to star in their play Quasimodo leads to Miss Clavel being taken by a real one.

“Madeline and the Big Cheese” (11/4/95) – The girls distract Lord Cucuface in order to get Miss Clavel to help them replace his fancy cheese that the mice ate.

“Madeline and the Science Project” (11/11/95) – Genevieve ends up falling asleep in the girls’ scale-model hot air balloon and ends up going for a ride.

“Madeline and the Haunted Castle” (11/18/95) – The girls try to help movie star Sugar Dimples’ homesickness by providing her with a Halloween celebration.

“Madeline and the Wild West” (11/25/95) – Madeline’s horse leads to the girls being invited to attend a rodeo, but then her horse ends up being kidnapped.

“Madeline’s Holiday with Mr. Grump” (12/2/95) – When Miss Clavel is called away, Lord Cucuface replaces her with Mr. Grump who runs the Old House like a boot camp.

Season 3:
“Madeline’s Halloween” (9/9/00) – A Halloween trip to New York leads Madeline to finding some earrings that could lead to Miss Clavel’s missing cousin.

“Madeline and the Spider Lady” (9/16/00) – Visiting Miss Clavel’s cousin at the radio station leads the girls to accidentally broadcasting a scary story without context for the listeners.

“Madeline and the Cancan Cliques” (9/23/00) – Preparing for a cancan competition leads the girls to divide themselves up into unfriendly cliques.

“Madeline at Cannes” (9/30/00) – Needing a warmer climate for her sinuses, Lord Cucuface sends the girls to Cannes where Madeline ends up with terrible sunburn.

“Madeline and the Show Off” (10/7/00) – When Yvette is selected to model for a famous painter, she becomes incredibly full of herself.

“Madeline and the Wedding” (10/14/00) – While the girls help lead a couple to matrimony, Pepito is being teased by his cousin for liking Madeline.

“Madeline on Safari” (10/21/00) – The girls head to Africa to join Nicole’s aunt on a safari.

“Madeline at the North Pole” (10/28/00) – A trip to the North Pole leads the girls to help Santa prepare for Christmas when all the elves end up sick.

“Madeline and Santa” (11/4/00) – Santa overindulges on cakes Madeline bakes causing him to gain so much weight it interferes with his deliveries.

“Madeline and the New Girl” (11/11/00) – The girls are suspicious of the new girl from India after hearing that she’s an “alien”.

“Madeline at Versailles” (11/18/00) – Pepito touches a priceless harpsichord, leaving mud and chocolate all over it.

“Madeline at the Hotel Riche” (11/25/00) – The girls are temporarily relocated to Lord Cucuface’s suite and discover high living isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

“Madeline on Stage” (12/2/00) – Disappointed with their roles in the upcoming play, Madeline and some of the girls plan to boycott the production.

“Madeline and the Marionettes” (12/9/00) – The girls try to help turn around a puppeteer who has taken to disappointing children for failing to achieve his dreams of being an opera singer.

“Madeline and the Ice Skates” (12/16/00) – A new pair of ice skates leads to Madeline constantly practicing at the expense of everything else.

“Madeline and the Giants” (12/23/00) – Madeline becomes distressed when all the girls are found to have grown except for her.

“Madeline and the Fashion Show” (12/30/00) – The girls are invited to model for a top designer who wants them to wear creations made of cheese.

“Madeline’s Manners” (1/4/01) – The girls and Pepito are sent to an etiquette school, and upon graduation Pepito’s cousin tries to convince him to ditch what he’s learned.

“Madeline and the Magic Show” (1/11/01) – Harry Houdini inspires Pepito to take up magic, which leads to his putting Genevieve in danger.

“Madeline’s Valentine” (1/18/01) – The girls become jealous when Genevieve becomes infatuated with another dog.

“Madeline and the Perfume Factory” (1/25/01) – The girls try to fix a batch of perfume that Chloe ruins with the skunk Pepito snuck in.

“Madeline at the Eiffel Tower” (2/1/01) – Pepito dares Madeline to duplicate her science experiment on the Eiffel Tower and they end up trapped in its elevator overnight.

“Madeline and the Tea Party” (2/8/01) – Movie star Sugar Dimples visits the girls and turns their simple tea party into a Hollywood affair.

“Madeline and the White Lie” (2/15/01) – Madeline attempts to fill in for Lord Cucuface and show around the wealthy American tourists that could potentially donate to the school.

“Madeline and the Dog Who Cried Wolf” (2/22/01) – Genevieve enjoys the attention her ailment brought that she fakes being sick to continue receiving it.

“Madeline at the Flea Market” (3/1/01) – The girls find some old items in the attic that they decide to sell, not realizing one of them was Pepito’s father’s Ambassador ring.

“Lost in Paris” (8/3/99) – Madeline is taken from the school by a man claiming to be her uncle and is thrown into servitude with other stolen orphans in Madame LaCroque’s lace shop.

“My Fair Madeline” (11/11/02) – Madeline is sent to a London finishing school after attempting to stop two thieves at the Louvre.

“Madeline in Tahiti” (2007) – To prevent Miss Clavel from retiring because of her sinuses, the girls and Pepito convince her to go on a trip to Tahiti.

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