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"Caine's Arcade" Video Brings Fame to Creative Boy

"Caine's Arcade" is one of the latest videos to go viral on the Internet. Since early April the video has been viewed millions of times on Vimeo and YouTube. It tells the story of nine-year old Caine McCoy in Los Angeles. He used cardboard boxes, scissors, tape and other materials to build a game center in his father's used car parts store. Filmmaker Nirvan Mullick was the first to pay to play Caine's games. He is also responsible for the "Caine's Arcade" video. In the video he explains how he met Caine.

The filmmaker had to get a door handle for his nineteen ninety-six Toyota Corolla. So he pulled into this used auto parts store and came across this elaborate cardboard arcade. He asked Caine how much it cost to play. "He's like, 'For one dollar you get four turns, but for two dollars you get a fun pass.'" He asked Caine how many turns you get with a fun pass. "He goes, 'Five hundred turns for a fun pass.'" So Mr. Mullick got a fun pass -- and the idea for the video. Caine's Arcade has basketball and soccer, game tokens and tickets, and colorful bags of cotton candy. It even has one of those machines where you try to pick up a prize with a mechanical claw. Like at most arcades, the claw game is hard to win. But, at two dollars for a fun pass worth five hundred plays, it's well worth the effort.Nirvan Mullick says his visit to Caine's cardboard arcade gave him much more than he expected. He told us, "I just felt like a little kid again and it was like he'd given me this tremendous unexpected gift."

In return, Mr. Mullick gave Caine an unexpected gift, too. He created a "flash mob" through Facebook. He set up a date and time and invited people to come and help him fill Caine's Arcade" with customers. The event was also published on the Hidden LA and Reddit websites. The news spread quickly. Caine had five hundred Facebook fans by the time the flash mob took place. More than one adults and children visited Caine's arcade that day. Caine called it the best day of his life. Since then, he and his arcade have become famous. And so has Mr. Mullick.

In his words: "There's a reason I was driving a ninety-six Corolla, and it's looking like I might be able to get to make movies that I've been trying to make for a long time." Mr. Mullick created a scholarship fund for Caine. And, to help other creative kids, the Goldhirsh Foundation has agreed to match every donation up to two hundred fifty thousand dollars.

For VOA Special English, I'm Carolyn Presutti. (Adapted from a radio program broadcast 23Apr2012)