|“In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.”
So began author/artist Ludwig Bemelmans’ beloved children’s book series, Madeline. Madeline was the smallest of the twelve little girls at Miss Clavel’s boarding school, and the one who best knew how to frighten Miss Clavel. The little redhead fell into the Seine, had her appendix removed, and made friends with Pepito, a kindred spirit at a boys’ school.
DIC’s 1993 animated series preserved the original characters and setting, as well as Bemelmans’ impressionistic drawing style. Most of Madeline’s adventures were new to the show, emphasizing comedy, life lessons, and the occasional song. The characters spoke with French accents, but not in Bemelmans’ original rhymed couplets. Christopher Plummer provided the narration.
The show first aired on the Family Channel, then moved to ABC’s Saturday morning lineup with new episodes in 1995, under the title The New Adventures of Madeline. The ABC series wasn't able to win the hearts of young viewers like Bemelmans' books, and The New Adventures of Madeline left the air after a very brief run. The plucky French girl bounced back, however, landing a feature version of the Madeline stories in 1998.