"Kick the Can" is an episode of the The Twilight Zone.

From the CBS Video Library cover:

"Charles Whitley, a resident at Sunnydale Rest Home, becomes obsessed that the secret of eternal youth lies in acting young. A romp through the sprinklers only lands him in isolation. But Whitley is sure that if he can play a game of kick-the-can, he will regain his lost youth. Only problem is, he can't play it alone—he needs the other old people to join him—and his best friend, sour Ben Conroy, is dead set against such a notion, certain Charley is going senile."[1]

Episode Details

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."

Episode Summary

Charles Whitley, a retiree at Sunnyvale Rest Home, thinks he has discovered the secret of youth. He is convinced that if he acts young, he will become young. His oldest and best friend, Ben Conroy, thinks he is going crazy. One night, Charles convinces a number of residents to play a game of kick the can with him. He tries to talk Ben into playing, but Ben refuses. The game of kick the can transforms Whitley and his other friends back into children. Conroy and the home's superintendent, Mr. Cox, go out to the street where they find the group of children playing kick the can in the night. Mr. Cox chases them away except for one, who stops to look at Conroy. Ben, now seeing the miracle, begs for a second chance to go with his friend. But it is too late: he is left behind. Mr. Cox expects Ben to help him search for the elderly people, but Ben knows they won't be found. Ben walks slowly to the front steps of Sunnyvale and sits there with the can alone.

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 childhood, maturity, and old age are curiously intertwined and not separate. A dying place for those who have grown too still in their thinking to visit the Twilight Zone."

Preview for Next Week's Story

Next week on The Twilight Zone, we roll a musical instrument purchased in this store. Now there are pianos and pianos, but this one was manufactured in our own very strange, unpredictable factory. It comes to you via the typewriter of Mr. Earl Hamner and it boasts a collection of oddities and oddball doings. Next week, you can roll up the rug as we bring you "A Piano in the House".

Production Companies


  • Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1959) (USA) (TV) (original airing)


Kick the Can was adapted as a segment in Twilight Zone: The Movie directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Scatman Crothers as Mr. Bloom. This adaptation has a happier ending, though.

In this version, an old man named Mr. Bloom has just moved into Sunnyvale Retirement Home. Upon his arrival, he sits around kindly and smiles as he listens to the other elders reminisce about the joys they experienced in their youth. Mr. Bloom implies to them just because they are old does not mean they cannot enjoy life anymore, and that feeling young and active has to do with your attitude, not your age. He tells them that later that night, he will wake them and that they can join him in a game of kick the can. All agree; however, Leo Conroy (Bill Quinn) disagrees, saying that now that they are all old they cannot engage in physical activity and play the games they once did as children. That night, Mr. Bloom gathers the rest of the optimistic residents outside and plays the game, during which they are transformed into childhood versions of themselves. Although they are extremely ecstatic to be young again and engage in the activities they once enjoyed so long ago, they also realize that being young again means you not only experience the good aspects of life again but also the bad. They request to be old again, which Mr. Bloom grants to them. Leo Conroy witnesses one resident, Mr. Agee (Murray Matheson, who had a role in "Five Characters in Search of an Exit") that still remains young, and says that he wants to go with him before the boy runs off. Conroy realizes that he does not have to stop enjoying life because of his old age. The segment ends with Mr. Bloom leaving to another retirement home and Conroy outside happily kicking a can around the yard, having learned being young at heart is what really matters.

Memorable Quotes

Main article: List of memorable quotes from the first series


  1. CBS Video Library: Twilight Zone #0322 "The Silence/Kick the Can/A World of Difference/And When the Sky Was Opened" ; UPC: 000322060003, EAN: 0000322060003, ASIN: B0007LHU6O; Format: NTSC, VHS, Collector's Edition (1987)

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