The Twilight Zone

Season 3 Episode 21

Kick the Can

Aired Unknown Feb 09, 1962 on CBS

Episode Recap

Charles Whitley is one of the elderly residents at Sunnyvale Rest Home. One day he packs up to leave with his son, only to discover that his son didn't come to bring him home. As he walks back to the retirement home, Charles sees a group of children playing across the street and picks up the can they're using in their game of Kick the Man. He considers it and then goes inside to the room he shares with Ben Conroy. Ben hates the children making noise outside but Charles understands. He then explains that it was foolish of him to go home with his son. Ben snarls at the children again but Charles remembers back to when he used to play the game. He wonders if playing kids games keeps kids from growing up. He asks if Ben believes in magic but the old man denies it. Charles reminds him of how he used to when he was a child and wonders where it's all gone.

Later, Ben goes to see the superintendent, Mr. Cox, and they wonder if Charles is going senile. They go out and see Charles running around acting like a child. Charles tries to get the other residents to act more lively and when they refuse, he runs into the sprinkler. Cox confines Charles to his room but Ben is concerned that the isolation will kill him. He goes to see Charles and tells him to act normal or he'll be put away. Charles wonders if he's right, but then notices the can on his dresser. That night, he waits until Ben is asleep and then gets the other residents to meet in the common room. He tries to get them to all go outside with him just like they did when they were children, warning it's their last chance. Ben tries to convince Charles that he's old and tired, but Charles refuses to stay and Ben refuses to go.

One of the residents sets off a firecracker and tosses it outside to distract the night nurse. The residents then go out on the lawn and start playing. Ben hears the firecrackers and goes to get Mr. Cox. The two of them hear laughter outside and run outside to find... a group of children playing. Ben approaches the younger boy and calls him Charles, but the boy doesn't seem to recognize him. He runs off and the other "children" follow suit. Cox runs around trying to find the residents, while Ben quietly begs Charles to come back. He then picks up the can and goes inside the retirement home... alone.
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