An unscrupulous free-lance writer extorts the elderly owner of a seedy second-hand shop who is prescient about the future.



(teleplay), (story) (as Lewis Padgett)

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Episode cast overview:
Tom Carmichael
Peter Talley


An unethical free-lance writer, desperate for money, has noticed that many well-to-do businessmen frequent Peter Talley's seedy second-hand shop, where they buy seemingly mundane items for large sums of money. He browbeats mild-mannered Talley into giving him "what he needs," an ordinary pair of shears, and is cautioned to always carry them on his person. The greedy writer, anxious to obtain money to marry his slatternly girl friend, finds the shears to be a life saver. When his scarf is caught in machinery and threatens to strangle him, the scissors literally save his life. Sensing there is money to be made, he extorts the store owner into revealing himself as a scientist whose back room machine gives him a window into a man's future. Written by (

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi





Release Date:

8 February 1952 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Peter Talley: He was evil, but death is for God to decide.
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Version of The Twilight Zone: What You Need (1959) See more »

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User Reviews

He Got What He Needed!
2 August 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Not as well done as the Twilight Zone version, but it keeps us in suspense, wondering what indeed he does need. This is certainly a tale of morality as much as science fiction, given the acceptance of such a machine. It gets down to the greatest good for the greatest number, a dilemma faced time after time throughout history. The old man is doing good. Unfortunately, it is his advertising that brings a slimy reporter to his door, observing the people leaving with baubles, wondering what sort of impact such things could have. Once the leech gets his suckers in, it's a battle to the finish, literally. The joy in the story is seeing how seemingly insignificant things, like a simple shears, could be worth the kind of money people are paying. The sad thing is that the young man would never relent. His drunken aspirations have made him a juggernaut and he resolves to impress his equally unimpressive barfly girlfriend. This one is pretty good.

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