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'Caine's Arcade': sweet film starring pint-size entrepreneur goes viral (+video)

'Caine's Arcade,' a short film about the innocent determination of a Los Angeles boy who made an entire arcade out of cardboard boxes, has become an Internet sensation.

'Caine's arcade'
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Can innocence save the world? If the online video “Caine’s Arcade” is any indication, the 1 million-plus folks who have viewed this gone-viral sensation in the past two days are ready to say yes.

For anyone who has not yet received a link from a gobsmacked fan or stumbled upon it as it climbs “most viewed “charts all over the Internet, we’re talking about the 11-minute film short about 9-year-old Caine Monroy, an East Los Angeles dreamer with a summerful of time on his hands and his father’s used car parts shop to play in.

He spent his warm weather vacation days constructing a vast warren of video arcade games – all from the discarded cardboard boxes lying around his dad’s shop.

In the old analog days, the story would have wrapped there, with the memory of a lazy daydream flowing into a happy haze as he went on to school and other more grownup efforts. But this time, “the god of new media intervened, dropping down into this little boy’s life and turning his dreams into gold,” says Paul Levinson, author of "New New Media.”

Independent filmmaker Nirvan Mullick recounts what happened, on the website devoted to this DIY video.

“I walked into Smart Parts Auto looking for a used door handle for my ’96 Corolla. What I found was an elaborate handmade cardboard arcade manned by a young boy who asked if I would like to play. I asked Caine how it worked and he told me that for $1 I could get two turns, or for $2, I could get a Fun Pass with 500 turns. I got the Fun Pass.”

Mr. Mullick also got the tale of a lifetime. He quickly realized the heartstrings value of this young entrepreneur’s creation. First, he devised a plan to fulfill Caine’s immediate dream of actually having some customers to play the various games he'd invented, from soccer to basketball and the classic claw booth – complete with a “machine” that would push out prize tickets and a display for the various prizes. The hoop is made from a plastic Shakey’s Pizza prize; the claw is an “S” hook dangling from a string. Oh, and the “machine” that spits out tickets is powered by Caine, who crawls in behind the facade to push the tickets through the slot.


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