Showgirl: Mr. John Cage!

Mike Bongiorno: Good evening, Mr. Cage. Are you ok?

John Cage: I'm fine.

MB: So, I was explaining to the audience that the player who has just left has his head on his shoulders because he has withdrawn, since everybody always tries for the 5 million [and then loses]. I'd like to know then if you have your head on your shoulders, too. That is, if you have decided to withdraw, or if you want to go for the 5 million [Lire].

JC: I'll double up.

MB: You'll double up.

JC: Yes.

MB: Ok, even after this little speech I gave to convince you! [laughs]

[audience applause]

MB: Fine, you'll double up. Listen, if you lose now you won't get that much, only 1,400 (a car), which is 1 million and 400.000 Lire.

JC: That's fine.

MB: Is it? Is 1 million and 400.000 Lire enough?

JC: That's a lot.

MB: A lot? That's only 2,000 dollars.

JC: Very, very good.

MB: Very good, 2,000 dollars. 2,000 dollars is okay with you.

JC: Yes, there's a talent check in America, Guggenheim's talent check.

MB: There's a talent check in America, called Guggenheim...

[Cage stutters some English words the host unsuccessfully translates]

JC: 2,000 dollars.

MB: ...that is 2,000 dollars worth. The Guggenheim talent check.

JC: Very, very good.

MB: It's very hard to get such a check. You see? If you lose, you'll get the same amount of money anyway, but what if you win? 5 million (Lire) is 8,000 dollars.

JC: That's better.

MB: It's better, I know.

MB: Ok, but if you lose, it's 2 thousand dollars whereas if you leave now you'll get 2 and a half thousand dollars.

JC: Yeah, but it's a big difference between 8 and 2.

MB: What do you mean?

JC: Two thousand...

MB: I see. You mean 8 is better than 2. So, you want to try to win. We're getting lost with all these lotto numbers here. So, Mr. Cage, do you feel like entering the booth to try to double up? You don't have to choose any envelope. Have a seat and let's see what happens. Don't get upset if you lose though, as I recommended you withdraw.

[footsteps sound as Cage enters the booth]

MB: Ok, Mr. Cage, once again we had the questions translated into English. Therefore I'll give you the envelope containing the translation and you can read it there. You must be more excited than the previous evenings, I suppose.

[opening envelope sound]

MB: I can see you're sweating, your face is all wet. Please dry yourself, Mr. Cage. We're going to show you slide #1, it's on the screen now. This is a screenshot of the analytic key of the po-li-po-ra-cee, taken from the Atkinson volume. Four names were deleted from it that correspond to the letters a, b, c, and d. You must complete the analytic key inserting these names back in again. This is really a 5 million [Lire] question; one has to read it twice in order to understand it. Complete the key with the missing names. Ninety seconds from now. Did you get it?

[countdown starts]

JC: For a, fistulina.

MB: A, fistulina. Correct.

JC: For b, poliporu.

MB: B, poliporu. Correct.

JC: For c, poletus.

MB: C, poletus.

JC: For d, bollitinus.

MB: Bollitinus. Well done, Mr. Cage. Let's move on. Here's question #2. Would you please bring Mr. Cage the translation of the new question? [To Cage] Was it difficult?

JC: A little.

MB: A little, just a little. Okay.

[once again, Bongiorno unsuccessfuly translates Cage's reply]

MB: Slide #2. This time we're showing you a mushroom that has a black stalk. You have to tell us: the scientific name, the color of its spores, plus the shape, length, and width (in microns) of the spores. Stay focused, Mr. Cage.

JC: The name of the mushroom is Bacillus, Bacillus Acrotometosis.

MB: Bacillus Acrotometosis is the scientific name, correct. What about the color of its spores?

JC: Yellow.

MB: The color of the spores is yellow, correct. Now tell us the shape of them.

JC: Oval.

MB: Oval, right. Their length?

JC: Four to six microns.

MB: From four to six microns, correct. And, now, their width.

JC: Three to four.

MB: From three to four. Very well done, Mr. Cage.

[audience applause]

MB: Question #3. This is the third and last question, Mr. Cage. If you have sweated so far you will now sweat more once you read the last question for the 5 million [Lire] prize. Be careful, Mr. Cage. You must tell us the 24 names of the agarici and the white spores contained in the Atkinson volume.

JC: I can enumerate the list alphabetically.

MB: What did you say?

JC: I can enumerate the list alphabetically.

MB: Mr. Cage says he can alphabetically list the 24 names!

JC: Okay, alphabetic.

[the countdown begins and Bongiorno counts as Cage enumerates the names]

MB: One, Amanita good, Amanitassis, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine... Very well, you made it!

[music jingle and audience applause]

MB: Well done, Mr. Cage. Very well done, Mr. Cage, good job! Mr. Cage has proved to us that he's a real mushroom expert because the questions we asked him tonight were very tough. He hasn't just been an odd character performing strange music on the stage, he's a prepared scholar indeed. I knew it because I remember him saying he had been living in the woods near New York and that everyday he used to go walking, searching for mushrooms. That's where he improved his skills.

JC: I'd like to thank the mushrooms, RAI, and all the people of Italy.

MB: All the people of Italy!

[audience applause]

MB: Goodbye, Mr. Cage. Have a nice trip. Do you go back to United States or do you stay here?

[inaudible response]

MB: Ah, you're coming back.

JC: My music is staying.

MB: Ah, so you're leaving and you're music is staying. But we'd wish you to stay here and your music to go away instead! [laughs]

[audience applause]

MB: Goodbye, Mr. Cage. See you soon and good luck to everyone with "Lascia o Raddoppia"!