The Notion of a Hero



Marie Curie, Nobel Prize portrait


I used to think I wanted to be Dr. Who’s companion, Wonder Woman, or a prize-winning medical scientist. This morning I was watching a movie and a greater hero far worthier of admiration and emulation came to my attention: Maisie Ravier.


Swing Shift Maisie


Maisie, stage name of Brooklyn’s Mary Anastasia O’Connor played by Ann Sothern, strove for a career in show business, but in every incarnation was cut off at the knees, left stranded, alone, without a cent, in unfamiliar places. Moreover, in every place and situation, after an “oy vey” moment, she uses her considerable “diamond in the rough” charm to make friends of good people or to make her the target of shortsighted power seekers.



A strong woman – a woman of intelligence – someone to be reckoned with. Yet, like me, she had no influential friends, no Tardis, no lasso of truth, no magnetic bracelets or wrists strong enough to catch bullets, and certainly no understanding of higher mathematics. What she had was an understanding of people and how to connect with them. Inured to the sort of life that was taken for granted in 1939 (when the first “Maisie” movie appeared), she took every step with purpose and direction. Even terrible life obstacles could not stop her. She could recognize obstacles, consider them, and continue in spite of them.

Ann Sothern Reads


Now there’s a hero worth emulating.

Bet you know a few.


Of course, it would still be fun to take a short trip with The Doctor.

Tom Baker as Dr. Who IV, and (dare I say his better half?) The Tardis


[1]6′ 7″ and Green: Wonder Woman,
[2]Ann Sothern with Fred Brady in Swing Shift Maisie (1943), one of the ten films in which she starred as Maisie Ravier (Image: Doctor Macro),
[4]”Maisie,” first in the series,
[5]Ann Sothern reading,
[6]Tom Baker as The Doctor and The Tardis,

About Judy M. Goodman

Freelance writer, aspiring novelist, and board member of Jane Stories Press Foundation.
This entry was posted in Dr. Who, heroes, nostalgia, powerlessness. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Notion of a Hero

  1. drgeraldstein says:

    I knew Ann Southern only from a ’50s TV show that I watched regularly, probably because I thought she was a peach (and I was still a young boy). She always seemed smarter than those around her, although I recall her playing a “Private Secretary,” not a high status job. Later, I discovered the movie “A Letter to Three Wives,” still worth watching. She was pretty feisty in that role too, as one of three women who knew that someone in town had run away with a husband of one of their small group of three friends, but didn’t know which husband for a few hours. In short, your post brought back some pleasant memories and was beautifully written too. There are a lot of real-life heros out there, many about whom we never hear, so it was nice to be reminded of the qualities required.

  2. lazloferran says:

    Tom Baker (in your photo) was my favourite Dr Who. I had to look up Maise Ravier. I am a film buff but hadn’t heard of these movies. I will keep a look out for them

    • Judy M. Goodman says:

      He was my favorite, too! TMC was showing the Maisie series at 11 on Sunday morning, but the one yesterday was earlier, before Ben Mankiewicz started his commentaries. You might check with them for further showings.

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