As portrayed in fiction, in accordance with a stereotype, professors are often depicted as being shy and absent-minded. Obvious examples include the 1961 movie The Absent-Minded Professor, or Professor Calculus who featured in the Tintin stories. Professors have also been portrayed as being misguided, such as Professor Metz, who helped the villain Blofeld in the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever; or simply evil, like Professor Moriarty, who is the archenemy of Sherlock Holmes. Animated series Futurama has a typical absent-minded but genius Professor Hubert Farnsworth. (See also mad scientist.) Vladimir Nabokov, author and professor of English at Cornell, frequently used professors as the protagonists in his novels. Professor Henry Higgins is also a main character in My Fair Lady. In the popular Harry Potter series, a few students are the most important characters, but all their teachers are known as professors, who play many important parts. In the board game Cluedo, Professor Plum has been depicted as absent minded. In the movie, see Clue (film), Professor Plum was a psychologist, who had an affair with one of his patients. He was played by Christopher Lloyd.
An example of a fictional professor not depicted as shy or absent-minded is Indiana Jones, a professor as well as an archeologist-adventurer. The character generally referred to simply as the Professor on the television series, Gilligan's Island, is depicted as a sensible advisor, a clever inventor, and a helpful friend to his fellow castaways. John Houseman's portrayal of law school professor Charles W. Kingsfield, Jr., in The Paper Chase (1973) remains the epitome of the strict, authoritarian professor who demands perfection from students.
Mysterious, older men with magical powers (and unclear academic standing) are sometimes given the title of "Professor" in literature and theater. Notable examples include Professor Marvel in The Wizard of Oz and Professor Drosselmeyer (as he is sometimes known) from the ballet The Nutcracker. Also, the magician played by Christian Bale in the film, The Prestige, adopts 'The Professor' as his stage name. A variation of this type of non-academic professor is the "crackpot inventor," as portrayed by Professor Potts in the film version of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Other professors of this type are the thoughtful and kind Professor Digory Kirke of C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia.
The title has been used by comedians, such as "Professor" Irwin Corey and Soupy Sales in his role as "The Big Professor." In the past, pianists in saloons and other rough environments have been called "professor." The puppeteer of a Punch and Judy show is also traditionally known as a "professor."
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Famous quotes containing the word fiction:
“We can never safely exceed the actual facts in our narratives. Of pure invention, such as some suppose, there is no instance. To write a true work of fiction even is only to take leisure and liberty to describe some things more exactly as they are.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“A reader who quarrels with postulates, who dislikes Hamlet because he does not believe that there are ghosts or that people speak in pentameters, clearly has no business in literature. He cannot distinguish fiction from fact, and belongs in the same category as the people who send cheques to radio stations for the relief of suffering heroines in soap operas.”
—Northrop Frye (b. 1912)