Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lazy Sunday # 218: Caine’s Arcade

Like so many Kodak cameras, the Brownie Starflash sold well in its time, making it rather common for collectors today.
Not so common is this two-tone version, available only as a premium and not for retail sale. It sports appropriate Coca-Cola colors as well as a "fishtail logo" decal on top.
The original black Starflash was introduced in March of 1957. Other colors followed a year later. Production of the Coca-Cola model began in October 1959, and this example was made in November of 1959.

Up to the age of 10, my creative output was primarily rendered in pencil or crayon. Then my dad came home from a business trip to New York and presented me with a Kodak Starflash camera.

It was more flashbulb than anything else. But it took great snapshots and pretty soon I was the Ansel Adams of Regina’s South End.

Luckily, I had a paper route to pay for all the film, flashbulbs and processing I burned through. Even luckier, somebody at the store that developed my pictures took pity and signed me up for their “Kids Kamera Klub”.

That allowed me to turn up on Saturday mornings with a roll of film I could develop for free while learning how to take better pictures from a pimply faced kid in their darkroom who kept reminding us Klub members to carry our camera at all times, cause you never knew when the perfect moment might come along.

It also got me a free subscription to PHOTO magazine, which, as an added bonus to an adolescent boy, was chock full of tastefully lit nudes. It was always fun to haul out a copy in study hall and imagine those perfect moments while the teacher thought it was f stops you were boning up on.

Yep, every kid needs a creative outlet. And that admonition about being prepared for the perfect moment is no less important today.


A couple of weeks ago, I ran across a Youtube clip entitled “Caine’s Arcade” and made a note to make it my video post the following Sunday.

It’s a terrific little film about the power of one kid’s creativity, exploring the cardboard arcade 9 year old Caine Monroy built in his dad’s East LA used auto parts store.

His first customer turned out to be a struggling filmmaker named Nirvan Mullick, who just happened to have his camera with him to capture the moment.

But within days, the short went viral and I figured it would be “old news” to my hip, cool and utterly media savvy readership. So I let it go, until I learned what had happened after Mullick’s video went online.

Not only did it rack up a few million views, but the paean to the power of a child’s imagination caught the imagination of enough people to profoundly change the lives of both the filmmaker and his subject.

As a token of thanks to Caine, Mullick had posted a link along with the video that allowed viewers to contribute to the kid’s education. Barely a day later, the scholarship fund had topped $120,000.

Within a couple more, it had spawned what can only be described as crowd-sourced education, with kids posting creations the video had inspired them to share and adults recounting the importance of creativity in their own lives.

Three weeks later (today) Caine’s scholarship fund has evolved into a Foundation whose mission is to raise a half million dollars to “find, foster and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in kids.”

Mullick has been signed to create a TV series in which kids who create things are matched with entrepreneurs who can exploit their ideas and a Major Hollywood studio is negotiating the feature film rights to his story.

Turns out that pimply faced kid in the darkroom was right. Perfect moments do come along. But they can’t be captured unless you remember to bring along your camera.

Enjoy your Sunday.

1 comment:

Win said...

Homerun once again Jim.
Thanks so much.