The Twilight Zone

Season 3 Episode 21

Kick the Can

Aired Unknown Feb 09, 1962 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
140 votes

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Episode Summary

The senior residents of Sunnyvale decide that the secret to youth is acting young, and in particular playing a childhood game called "kick-the-can."

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Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • MJ Loved this one!

    Learned that Michael Jackson absolutely loved this episode and owned a copy and watched it several times. It gives you good insight into who he was and if you want to understand him better. Watch this!
  • Way overrated

    This episode was even included in Twilight zone the movie! It's by far overrated. I hate this episode personally. One my least favorites. The plot is really silly. Old people being young again. Geez.
  • A resident of a nursing home discovers the secret of staying young.

    This is one of my favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone. It is at the same time inspiring and heartbreaking. The idea that the fountain of youth lies simply in living like a child is wonderful. The faith displayed by the old folks is child-like in itself. They fully believe that by playing a game outside, they will secure eternal youth for themselves. The heart-breaking aspect of the episode comes in the form of the old man who refuses to go out and play. He has no faith, and therefore he misses out on the opportunity to regain his youth. The larger message here is that sometimes you have to break the rules in order to be happy. You cannot be happy if you live your life by the rules of other people. Instead, you must forge your own path and follow your heart.moreless
  • To his lifelong friend's dismay, a nursing home resident (Ernest Truex) comes to believe that children's games hold the secret of youth. Also starring Russell Collins.

    My favorite Twilight Zone episode. Wonderfully written and acted, and contains my basic philosophy of life in a nutshell (Charles Whitley's line, "There *is* magic in the world..."; the excerpts from Bernard Herrmann's "Walking Distance" score are Exhibit A).

    To me, this is an episode not just about old people, though there would be nothing wrong with that, but about the meaning of life, about true magic and what it means. I find the ending of this episode very powerful--the combination of joy and tragedy affects me more deeply than I can put into words--and it's certainly a "magic" ending in the sense that it violates the known laws of nature. But it would seem almost trivial to me if it weren't also a necessary and proper fulfillment of the magic Charles sees *within* nature--in things like love and friendship, babies being born and kids playing where the grass is, people being who they are and not who others define them to be, faith and courage, the ability to keep your youth alive even as you mature, the night air and the stars.

    These varied and numerous things meld into a unified, harmonious vision of life here--like youth and old age, "curiously intertwined and not separate." This episode has waken "some sleeping part" of me many, many times.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (8)

    • (Opening Narration)
      Narrator: Sunnyvale Rest, a home for the aged, a dying place, and a common children's game called kick the can that will shortly become a refuge for a man who knows he will die in this world if he doesn't escape into the Twilight Zone.

    • Charles: It's the grass, Ben. Children can't resist going where the grass is.

    • Charles: Maybe the Fountain of Youth isn't a fountain at all. Maybe it's a way of looking at things. A way of thinking.

    • Charles: Summer, grass, run, jump, youth! Wake up! Wake up, oh this is your last chance. I can't play Kick the Can alone...

    • Charles: Ben, help me! There is magic in the world, I know there is. When I fell in love with Mary, kissed her for the first time, that was magic. When my boy was born, that was magic. Friendship is a magic thing. Maybe I"m right, Ben. Maybe Kick the Can is the greatest magic of all.

    • Charles: Ben, you're afraid. You're afraid of a new idea. You're afraid to look silly. You're afraid to make a mistake. You decided that you were an old man and that has made you old.
      Ben: I am old and so are you, Charles, and that's a fact.

    • Charles: You believed in magic then...
      Ben: Me? Magic?
      Charles: Yes you did. When we walked on different sides of a street lamp you'd say "bread and butter" and when your baby teeth came out, you'd put them under the pillow for the tooth fairy. Yeah, you believed in magic. What happened, Ben?

    • (Closing Narration)
      Narrator: Sunnyvale Rest, a dying place for ancient people who have forgotten the fragile magic of youth. A dying place for those who have forgotten that childhood, maturity and old age are curiously intertwined and not separate. A dying place for those who have grown too stiff in their thinking to visit the Twilight Zone.

  • NOTES (1)