Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs Alfred Guy did not know which Disney movie contains the song “A Whole New World,” but he still walked away from the trivia show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” with a quarter of a million dollars yesterday.
After using all three of his “lifelines” to evade early questions, Guy, who appeared on “Millionaire” on Monday and Tuesday, made it through 12 of 14 questions on the show. Guy chose not to guess the answer to question 13, worth $500,000, and to walk away with his accumulated winnings of $250,000. If he had answered incorrectly, he would have left with only a tenth of that amount.
The dean and English professor said he was “too excited” after answering the $250,000 question to think clearly about the next one. Guy said that question, which asked who wrote the line “Was this the face that launched a thousand ships,” left him feeling “unreal” because it is from “Doctor Faustus,” a play he knows intimately.
“When I saw that I was like, ‘I want to shout out the answer right now!’” he said.
He added that he was not sure of the answer to the $500,000 question — “According to Chanel, the fragrance Chanel No. 5 recreates a scent that perfumer Ernest Beaux whiffed while traveling where?” — and was too distracted to attempt to reason through it.
As for the first question of the show, about the song “A Whole New World,” Guy asked the audience for help identifying which movie it came from.
“I’ve seen Aladdin four times,” he said. “But Disney music …I can’t listen to it. It’s too schmaltzy to me.”
Guy, who is also the director of the Writing Center, said he does not consider himself a trivia aficionado.
But when his mother sent him a news story about a New York University professor on the show, Guy, who used to teach at NYU, decided to take his own stab at stardom. He took the “Millionaire” qualifying test this summer, sat for an interview, and was finally invited to compete. The episodes that aired this week were taped in October.
He said he originally worried about what his students would think of him.
“It seemed like a cheesy thing to do,” he said. “I’m supposed to be devoted to knowledge and true scholarship, and here I am going on a show to answer questions about Justin Bieber.”
Asked by the News if he plans to compete on television again, Guy said the answer is probably no. As for his winnings, he said he may use them to go on leave and travel with his wife.
Guy will screen the episodes in which he appeared in Linsly-Chittenden Hall today at 4 p.m. “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” is currently in its ninth season.