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Professor
Einstein 1921 by F Schmutzer - restoration.jpgProfessor Moriarty from the Sherlock Holmes story "The Final Problem"

Traditional fictional po

Traditional fictional portrayals of professors, in accordance with a stereotype, are shy, absent-minded individuals often lost in thought. In many cases, fictional professors are socially or physically awkward. Examples include the 1961 film The Absent-Minded Professor or Professor Calculus of The Adventures of Tintin stories. Professors have also been portrayed as being misguided into an evil pathway, such as Professor Metz, who helped Bond villain Blofeld in the film Diamonds Are Forever; or simply evil, like Professor Moriarty, archenemy of British detective Sherlock Holmes. The modern animated series Futurama has Professor Hubert Farnsworth, a typical absent-minded but genius-level professor. A related stereotype is the mad scientist.

Vladimir Nabokov, author and professor of English at Cornell, frequently used professors as the protagonists in his novels. Professor Henry Higgins is a main character in George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion. In the Harry Potter series, set at the wizard school Hogwarts, the teachers are known as professors, many of whom play important roles, notably Professors Dumbledore, McGonagall and Snape. In the board game Cluedo, Professor Plum has been depicted as an absent-minded academic. Christopher Lloyd played Plum's film counterpart, a psychologist who had an affair with one of his patients. Vladimir Nabokov, author and professor of English at Cornell, frequently used professors as the protagonists in his novels. Professor Henry Higgins is a main character in George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion. In the Harry Potter series, set at the wizard school Hogwarts, the teachers are known as professors, many of whom play important roles, notably Professors Dumbledore, McGonagall and Snape. In the board game Cluedo, Professor Plum has been depicted as an absent-minded academic. Christopher Lloyd played Plum's film counterpart, a psychologist who had an affair with one of his patients.

Since the 1980s and 1990s, various stereotypes were re-evaluated, including professors. Writers began to depict professors as just normal human beings and might be quite well-rounded in abilities, excelling both in intelligence and in physical skills. An example of a fictional professor not depicted as shy or absent-minded is Indiana Jones, a professor as well as an archeologist-adventurer, who is skilled at both scholarship and fighting. The popularity of the Indiana Jones movie franchise had a significant impact on the previous stereotype, and created a new archetype which is both deeply knowledgeable and physically capable. The character generally referred to simply as the Professor on the television sit com series, Gilligan's Island, although described alternatively as a high-school science teacher or research scientist, 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. Annalise Keating (played by Viola Davis) from the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) legal drama mystery television series How to Get Away with Murder is a law professor at the fictional Middleton University.[14] Early in the series, Annalise is a self-sufficient and confident woman, respected for being a great law professor and a great lawyer, feared and admired by her students,[15] whose image breaks down as the series progresses.[16]

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[17] 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,[18] 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 or the Jerry Lewis-inspired Professor Frink character on The Simpsons. 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".[19] The puppeteer of a Punch and judy show is also traditionally known as a "professor".

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