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American Doll in video deal

NEW YORK, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- First books were made into movies, and now dolls are getting the screen treatment.

The American Girl, the high-end brand of period dolls with accompanying historical story books, wardrobe and accessories, is about to become a video series, the result of a made-for-TV movie deal between the WB network and Julia Roberts' production company with Mattel Inc.-owned American Girl.

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Samantha will be the first doll to star in an action, holiday-themed movie set around the beginning of the 20th century. While protective control of the movie line will be retained by The American Girl company, a spokeswoman said, the title's video distribution will be handled by Warner Home Video after the debut of the movie on the WB in November.

The American Girl brand, aimed at girls aged 3 to 12, was founded as direct marketer Pleasant Co. in 1986. Mattel purchased the Middleton, Wis., company along with its New York and Chicago retail and entertainment sites in 1998.

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