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. Written by
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.
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This Twilight Zone begins in the Sunnyvale Rest Home. Seniors are slowly creaking about, rocking their chairs, sewing, looking on, - perhaps thinking of their younger days.
In contrast, resident Charles Whitley is full of excitement. He thinks he's discovered the secret of youth. Children's games!
Inside the old folks home, Charles can hear the neighborhood kids shouting. They're out playing kick the can. It's an old summer ritual. Charles and the other seniors used to play it this time of year.
Kick the can, tiddlywinks, hide and go seek... Charles wonders if there isn't some magic in these games. We play them as kids. And the moment we stop, we grow old. But maybe, just maybe, if we keep playing them, we can keep the magic working. We can stay young.
Charles's tries to explain his theory to his friend Ben. But Ben has a different view. "Old people need their rest!" he says. Disregarding his cynical friend, Charles goes off to corral the other seniors to play children's games with him.
Quite simply, this is one of the best pieces of television writing I have ever seen. This simple story about youth, mortality, and the basic need to be silly, is for everyone. What a classic this is. If only TV could always be this good. 10 out of 10. Bar none.
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