The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
21 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

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


"What You Need" inspired the song of the same name by British post-punk band The Fall from their acclaimed 1985 album 'This Nation's Saving Grace'. See more »


Since Lefty's scarf was not knotted around his neck, all he had to do was turn his body to twist it off. There was no need to use the scissors. 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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Referenced in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) See more »


Written by Stan Tracey
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User Reviews

What I Got
22 May 2006 | by See all my reviews

What I got is a great episode of someone who got what they deserved when he took advantage of a man simply trying to help people. Yeah! He got his gift... slippery shoes. There is a filming quirk in the beginning before the first commercial break. That is the cigarette smoke from the thug's ashtray is going downward, i.e., the film is being played in reverse. There is also the aspect of someone of no moral grounding taking advantage of someone who is using their "Gift" of helping people with "What they need." Maybe this will sway some folk to not corrupt "charities" for their own selfish need. I was really impressed by the charitable guy's clairvoyance of the thug sitting at the bar. I also loved the cleaning fluid lady's beauty and Lefty the washed up pitcher's smile... it's infectious. It's also evident that Lefty is a good hearted guy. At the same time, it's also plain the bartender is a needler of Lefty. How the thug found out where the peddler lived and broke in, just sitting there until the peddler got home is pretty good fraught for a cheap thug like Renard.

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