Caine’s Magical Cardboard Arcade Hits $175,000 Jackpot!!

Caine’s Magical Cardboard Arcade Hits $175,000 Jackpot!!

Caine’s Arcade is a sweet, heartwarming documentary short film by the award-winning filmmaker Nirvan Mullick, about a 9 year-old boy’s cardboard arcade. Young Caine Monroy built an elaborate cardboard arcade in the front room of his dad’s used auto parts store in a desolate industrial part of East Los Angeles. Eventually Caine’s Arcade grew in size, taking over almost the whole store, while his father sold auto parts on eBay in the back.

Day after day, Caine would set up his arcade and sweep the sidewalks in front, but the deserted street got almost no foot traffic, so Caine’s chances of getting a customer were very small. The few walk-in customers that did come through were always in too much of a hurry to get their auto parts to play Caine’s Arcade. But Caine never gave up.

One day, by chance, Nirvan Mullick walked into Smart Parts Auto looking for a used door handle for his ’96 Corolla. What he found instead was the elaborate handmade cardboard arcade manned by a young boy who asked if he would like to play. Mullick asked Caine how it worked, and he said that for $1 you could get two turns, or for $2 you could get a Fun Pass with 500 turns. Mullick got the Fun Pass.

Charmed by Caine and his arcade, Mullick asked Caine’s father if he could make a film about the arcade, and the answer was yes. But the father warned Mullick that Caine didn’t get many customers. “Well, actually, it’s kind of like a joke around here because you are his only customer,” he says in the film. But Mullick changed all that. In the film, Mullick explains how he decided to create a flashmob of people who would arrive at Caine’s Arcade eager to play some games. He created a Facebook event for the mob, which got posted on Hidden LA and then got posted on Reddit. Suddenly people from all around the world were lamenting that they weren’t able to go to Caine’s Arcade.

It’s worth watching the video just to see Caine’s reaction to the huge crowd of people lined up outside of his cardboard arcade, but we suggest you have a box of tissues nearby. When it was all over, Caine told his dad that it was the best day of his life.

In the past few days, millions of people have watched the short film. And if this story isn’t sweet enough, Mullick set up a scholarship fund for Caine, which has already raised more than $175,000.

Viewers can learn more about Caine Monroy’s Arcade by reading the detailed April 18, 2012, New York Times article, A Boy’s Fast Fame, Built of Cardboard and Tape here.

Caine’s Magical Cardboard Arcade Hits $175,000 Jackpot!!

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