"Kick the Can" is the 21st episode of the third season of The Twilight Zone, and was first broadcast in February of 1962. It starred veteran actor Ernest Truex as rest home resident Charles Whitley.
Charles Whitley lives at the Sunnyvale Rest Home, a situation that he is not as resigned to as his fellow residents. When the episode opens, we see him saying he is going to leave with his son: a plan that does not pan out. He soon finds himself looking enviously at a group of neighborhood children playing "Kick the Can", and rhapsodizing nostalgically about the magic of youth. He comes to believe that if he could still play "Kick the Can", old age would have no power on him. Can he convince the other residents of the rest home to follow him on his quest to escape their stagnant surroundings and rediscover youth?
This is one of the more straight forward episodes of The Twilight Zone. Nostalgia for childhood or youth is a reoccurring theme on The Twilight Zone, and in some cases "Static" it is seen as a good thing, whereas in others, such as "A Stop at Willoughby", it is presented in a more eerie light. In this story, it is mostly presented as direct wish fulfillment, with no negative undercurrents.
What interests me most about this story is more the context and real-world views it presents. This episode was aired at a time when views of what aging meant were quite different than they are now. Even the term "rest home" is a term that I can't recall hearing for quite some time. This story presents the idea that seniors can maintain youthful attitudes by engaging in play: an idea, that within the story, is presented as supernatural, but that in the present day, is taken for granted as a normal, practical matter.