Twilight Zone – Kick The Can

★★★★ 1/2  February 9, 1962 Season 3 Episode 21

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

This one is a borderline classic. What I get out of it is the idea that old age is just a state of mind. Being young is more about the willingness to take risks and having a sense of adventure rather than just playing it safe. Ernest Truex plays Charles Whitley who finds the secret of staying young. The pure joy that Truex shows is infectious. He appeared in the earlier Twilight Zone…What You Need.

I find it interesting in the contrasting dynamic between playful Charles Whitley and the stereotypical grouchy old man Ben Conroy played by Russell Collins. Charles moves around care free while Ben worries about everything and is determined to be a “get off my lawn” old man. This one is a little slower to develop but a great episode.

One character actor I do want to mention that appears in this episode is Burt Mustin. He doesn’t have a big part but Mustin seemed to be everywhere on 50s- 70s tv shows. Burt Mustin

Kick the Can was remade in the Twilight Zone movie with Scatman Crothers and it was one of the best stories they had in the movie.

This show was written by George Clayton Johnson, Rod Serling, and Richard P. McDonagh

Rod Serling’s 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.

Summary

Charles Whitley is an elderly resident of Sunnyvale Rest, a home for the aged. It’s not a happy place and Charles’ hopes of moving in with his son David are dashed when he’s told they can’t take him in. He wistfully recalls his youth where they played kick the can and didn’t have a worry in the world. His close friend Ben Conroy begins to worry him when Charles suggests all you have to do is wish it, and you can be young again. Ben is worried his friend will end up in the loony bin but it’s Ben who is in for a surprise.

Rod Serling’s 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.

CAST

Rod Serling… Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Ernest Truex…Charles Whitley
Barry Truex…Charles’ son
Russell Collins…Ben Conroy
John Marley…Mr. Cox
Burt Mustin…Carlson
Earle Hodgins…Agee
Hank Patterson…Freitag
Marjorie Bennett…Mrs. Summers
Lenore Shanewise…Mrs. Densley
Eve McVeagh…Night nurse
Anne O’Neal…Mrs. Wister

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

39 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – Kick The Can”

  1. I really like this one- makes me think of older people I have known growing up–back then didn’t it seem like a lot of people lived like this- they’d get to a certain age and act like their lives were over– and it wasn’t an old age- say 60- they’d retire and sit on the porch waiting for their time to come to pass on…. of course there were some who didn’t go along with this thinking…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did also and I could relate to this the older I got. Oh I remember relatives in their 50s that acted like they were ready for the home…that is a mindset that has changed somewhat…thank goodness.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Oh Leave it to Beaver, Andy Griffith, anything in the sixties and a short time on Phyllis in the seventies.
        Oh some trivia on him…he was at the first World Series ever in 1903…he was on Johnny Carson and told the story.

        Like

  2. I recognise Burt yes he was in loads of stuff. And i totally relate to growing old disgracefully! Anyone that is of the opinion that one should stop clubbing, dress like an old man and stay home in slippers will get a “speak for yourself!” from me. Not that i do leave the house these days much but thats circumstances not choice. I want to do stuff i enjoy until i cant do it 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know what you mean. I’m 54 but I sure don’t act it…when I was a kid…50-60 year olds did act much older than people now.
      Just look a Paul McCartney on stage now…back in the 60s and 70s no one would have dreamed of that

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just went to see 81 year old cliff richard, still slim, in leather and other dress, dancing, singing for hours and hes been going for 62 years so far. Devil woman We Dont Talk Anymore and much more sounding fab. 80 is the new 60! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Great episode! It was such a heartbreaking scene when Ben realized he made a mistake and begs Charles to take him with him – buts it too late since he didn’t have the faith that the others had. Magical seeing all those kids running around knowing who they really were

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No I’ve been doing a floor in our living room…hence my sporadic commenting John. Work got me way behind in August and September and Honey do’s piled up.
      I did what you did with Hogans Heroes…I bought the TZ…I always watch the one I’m review the night before.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Funny you mention that guy Mustin. A guy at work watches Dragnet every morning in our breakroom, and I walked in the other day and that guy Mustin was on playing a burglar. I thought, “I don’t know that old bastards name but he was on everything back then”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL…he was! I saw him on a Carson episode recently and he was at the first World Series ever in 1903. He didn’t start acting until he was older. Leave It To Beaver also…as the fireman and Andy Griffith Show just to name a few.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Of the four segments, that was the cutest one. I always like Scatman.

        The re-write of Bill Mumy’s kid throwing people into the cornfield was awful, even with the stellar actors in it.

        Also, the film was altered. The part where Vic Morrow was in the water in Vietnam with the two kids & the helicopter (the accident that killed all three) was completely removed. There was no helicopter & no kids. I wonder if years of litigation had the stipulation that those scenes would be permanently removed in re-casts. It was on Starz.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I saw Scatman last night…The Shining.
        Yes the Good Life was awful…
        Yea I would say the court said no to those scenes…that should have never happened.

        Like

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