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The Twilight Zone: Kick the Can

The spirit of an old children's game helps a group of elderly citizens recapture their youth.

Episode Info

Episode number: 3x21
Production Number: 4821
Airdate: Friday February 09th, 1962

  • Currently 6.6/10
6.6/10 (5 Votes cast)
Guest Stars
Ernest Truex
As Charles Whitley
John Marley
As Mr. Cox
Hank Patterson
As Second Old Man
Marjorie Bennett
As First Old Lady
Burt Mustin
As Third Old Man
Russell Collins
As Ben Conroy
Earle Hodgins
As First Old Man
Lenore Shanewise
As Second Old Lady
Anne O'Neal
As Third Old Lady

Eve McVeagh
As Night Nurse
Barry Truex
As Charle's Son
Gregory McCabe
As First Boy
Marc Stevens
As Second Boy
Main Cast
Rod Serling
As Narrator/Host


At Sunnyvale Rest Home, Charles Whitley puts on a suit and comes downstairs with a suitcase, telling the other mostly-apathetic residents that his son is coming to get him. He goes outside and his son pulls up. Charles gets into the car and his son drives a few feet, then stops. Across the street, a group o children play Kick the Can. The residents look on as Charles' son explains he didn't come to take him away, just that he promised to talk to him. Charles gets out and walks wearily back to the rest home. As he goes, he sees the children playing and pcks up their can. One of the kids asks for the can back while the others look on. Charles sits down against a tree and considers the object...

Read the full recap
Episode Notes
This episode was remade as a segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie in 1982.

Burt Mustin was a veteran actor who also appeared in "Night of the Meek" as well as The Andy Griffith Show and as Gus the fireman on Leave it to Beaver.

Ernest Truex also appeared in "What You Need."

Eve McVeagh also appeared in "I Am the Night, Color Me Black."

Hank Patterson appears in two more episodes , "Ring-A-Ding Girl" and "Come Wander with Me" and is best known as Fred Ziffel on Green Acres and a regular guest on Gunsmoke.

John Marley also appears in "The Old Man in the Cave."

Marjorie Bennett also appears in "The Chaser" and "No Time Like the Past."

Episode Quotes
Opening Narration
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: 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?

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, 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: 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.

Closing Narration
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.

Other Episode Crew

CreatorRod Serling
Executive ProducerRod Serling
ProducerBuck Houghton
EditorBill Mosher
Set DecoratorGeorge R. Nelson
Director of PhotographyGeorge T. Clemens
Art DirectorPhilip Barber  |  George W. Davis
Production ManagerRalph Nelson
Sound EditorFranklin Milton
Main Title ThemeMarius Constant
SoundWilliam Edmondson
Assistant DirectorE. Darrell Hallenbeck
Warning: The Twilight Zone season 3 episode 21 guide may contain spoilers
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