Friday, December 19, 2014

Doll-A-Day 325:Madeline

  Today's doll is everybody's favourite little girl from Paris,Madeline.

Madeline stands 18" tall, (although she can't stand on her own.)

This particular Madeline is all dressed for winter, with her navy blue dress,navy blue and green plaid coat, white fur muff, and black 'velvet' hat.

Her hands come sewn to her muff, but when the thread is cut they can be taken out.

But if you want them back in, there is Velcro inside the muff to hold them. I think after a while the Velcro will leave her soft white gloves all snagged and fuzzy.

She has non removeable white tights (Which hide her famous appendix scar.),and black side button shoes.

When Emma was small she had a couple of vintagey looking coats with a built in cape like Madeline's,with matching hat and muff. It was just the kind of thing I wanted to wear when I was little. Fortunately, she loved them too. I even made her Emma the Doll a matching set to hers. When
Ivy got big enough to voice an opinion I found out how much she hated them.

This Madeline has some damage to the flocking on her hat. I am debating just taking all the rest of the flocking off. (It will peel off.) What do you think? I'm afraid it will be shiny if I do that.

  The Madeline books, which were famously set in Paris, were written and illustrated by Ludwig Bemelmans, who was born in The Tyrol, or Austria-Hungary, (What is now Italy.), in 1898.

When his father, who was a painter himself, left the family and ran off with Lugwig's nanny,Mrs. Bemelmans took Ludwig and his brother and moved back to her native Germany, where Ludwig grew up. In Germany he was working as a waiter in an hotel when he reportedly shot another waiter and seriously wounded him. He was given the choice between reform school and emigration to the United States. He chose emigration.
  He worked in hotels in the U.S. until joining the army in 1917. Because of his association with Germany he was never sent to Europe. He became a U.S. citizen in 1918. In the 1920's, while continuing to work in hotels, Ludwig attempted to become an artist. He had a cartoon series called The Thrilling Adventures of the Count Bric a Brac in the New York World, but it ended after only six months.
  In the early 1930's Ludwig met an editor for Viking Press who liked his artwork and encouraged him to try writing children's books.His first children's book,Hansi, the story of two children and their dog, living in The Tyrol, was published in 1934. Ludwig married his wife Madeline in 1935, and she surely was the inspiration for the name of the character. His first Madeline book was published by Simon and Schuster in 1939, after being rejected by Viking. (It's not quite 'Decca turning down the Beatles', but considering the longevity of the Madeline books, I'm sure Viking were still pretty upset with themselves.)
  Ludwig also wrote travel books and humorous books for adults. His first book for adults was based on his wartime diary about his experiences, including working in a military hospital. It was called "My War with the United States". He also wrote screenplays, including Yolanda and the Thief".
  MGM's top musical producer Arthur Freed liked an article by Ludwig he read in the New Yorker. He brought Ludwig to Hollywood and set him up with an office at MGM, where he was supposed to be writing a screenplay, and ended up painting surrealistic murals all over the walls. The murals so freaked out studio head Louis B. Mayer that he had them scraped off immediately. (It wasn't only Decca and Viking then...) Eventually Ludwig came up with a treatment for Yolanda and the Thief, which then took 4 more  drafts before it was ready to film.
  Yolanda and the Thief starred Fred Astaire as a con man who pretends to be an angel to steal an innocent's fortune,and Lucille Bremer as the innocent, fresh out of the convent. It was directed by Vincent Minnelli, (Husband of Judy Garland and father of Liza Minnelli.). The opening sequence was based on the look of Ludwig Bemelmans' artwork, especially the Madeline books. The movie was made in 1945, and at the time was monstrously unsuccessful. It fared so badly in fact, that in addition to losing 1.7 million dollars at the box office, it ended Lucille Bremer's promising career, (She had had a great success the previous year playing Judy Garland's older sister in Meet Me in St. Louis".), and sent Fred Astaire into an early retirement after only one more film. (Thankfully he did come out of retirement in a few years and kept working almost up to his death.)
 It's not that Yolanda was a bad movie. I quite like it. It was just too different for audiences at the time, with the very surrealistic sets and fantasy plot.

Over the years Lugwig wrote for Town and Country, Horizon, and The New Yorker, and painted many New Yorker covers. He considered himself an artist first, and a writer second. Ludwig's artwork still graces Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel in New York City, which is covered with his murals. It's the only surviving art commission of his that is still open to the public.

And don't think they don't take full advantage of Madeline's popularity.Looks like those partaking of the buffet can also purchase a variety of Madeline merchandise.
Ludwig Bemelmans died in 1962 from pancreatic cancer.
    Tomorrow we'll see another wintry doll.


  1. I too have one of these dolls. Do you know what she is worth if I was to resell her?

    1. As prices change constantly you need to check the 'sold' listings on sites like Ebay. Just make sure you are comparing to a doll in the same condition as yours,not only the same type.


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