The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
22 user 5 critic

What You Need 

A small time crook plans to exploit an old street peddler who has the uncanny knack of selling people exactly what they will shortly need.



(teleplay by), (based on the short story by) (as Lewis Padgett) | 1 more credit »

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Episode complete credited cast:
Read Morgan ...
Girl in Bar (as Arline Sax)
William Edmonson ...
Doris Karnes ...
Fred Kruger ...
Man on Street
Norman Sturgis ...
Hotel Clerk


An old man comes to the same bar every night to peddle his wares. He tells the clients what it is they need before they realize they need it. Moments after telling a washed up major league pitcher he needs a ticket to Scranton, Pennsylvania he gets a phone call offering him a job there. When the old man tells him he needs a pair of scissors, Fred Renard scoff at him but and when his scarf is caught in an elevator door, he's glad the old man was right. Renard, who has wasted most of his 36 years on Earth, decides to capitalize on the old man's gift. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

scissors | scarf | peddler | bar | elevator | See All (22) »






Release Date:

25 December 1959 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


When the leaky pen drips ink on the newspaper, indicating which horse Renard should bet on, if you look closely you will see among the names of the jockeys Clemens, Houghton, Denault and Serling; George T. Clemens was the director of photography in this episode, Buck Houghton was producer, Edward O. Denault was assistant director, and Rod Serling created it. See more »


At the end, a photographer takes a picture before the man has finished combing his hair. See more »


[first lines]
Bartender: You ready for another?
Fred Renard: I'm fine.
Bartender: You've been fine for an hour. We sell booze here, mister. We don't just rent space.
Fred Renard: Is that a fact?
Bartender: That's a fact, buddy.
Fred Renard: How would you like to take a flying jump at the moon?
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Version of Tales of Tomorrow: What You Need (1952) See more »


Written by Stan Tracey
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User Reviews

It's Those Shoes
26 September 2008 | by See all my reviews

I have always enjoyed this episode. People over analyze it. The "bad guy" is just that. There are bad people and given a situation where they can take, will do so. This is not a religious allegory. This is about a situation where we must suspend our disbelief (as we often do in The Twilight Zone) and accept the gifts the man has. Why do people automatically believe that a writer needs to put a religious spin on it. If you want to put a spin on it, it is more fairy tale (The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg and The Fisherman's Wife). These people are dissatisfied with what they have and try to destroy the source of their gifts. It is really about Kismet, not theology.

This episode works well because it has a magical quality and some great characters. We create our destinies, and the supernatural aside, the man went too far.

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