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
A lot of the action in this tale takes place in a bar that looks almost identical to the drinking establishment from previous episode 'And When The Sky Was Opened', but the two stories couldn't be more different: the earlier tale worked well because its audience knew full well what fate was going to befall its characters, whereas 'What You Need' keeps the viewer guessing with a classic twist ending.
In addition to delivering a terrific 'traditional' Twilight Zone conclusion, this episode also boasts one of my favourite performances of the season so far: Steve Cochran as churlish loser Fred Renard, who harasses kindly street peddler Pedott (Ernest Truex) after he realises that the old man can see into the future and provide people with precisely 'what they need'. Cochran is truly menacingI'm not at all surprised to find that he originally found fame as a heavy in gangster films, including a role in Cagney classic White Heat.
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