The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
24 user 6 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.


Alvin Ganzer


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

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Episode complete credited cast:
Steve Cochran ... Fred Renard
Ernest Truex ... Pedott
Read Morgan ... Lefty
Arlene Martel ... Girl in Bar (as Arline Sax)
William Edmonson ... Bartender
Doris Karnes Doris Karnes ... Woman
Fred Kruger ... Man on Street
Norman Sturgis 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

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Release Date:

25 December 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

What You Need See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


After Serling's introduction of Renard, the establishing scene ends with a shot of Renard at the end of the bar. On the wall behind him is a poster which says "Nightmare", an omen of events to come. See more »


Pedott is shown in the opening scene going from person to person selling odds-and-ends in a bar. He approaches Lefty, who does not know him, whereupon the bartender tells Lefty that "the old coot is in here every night". The bartender later says that Lefty is in the bar "seven nights a week." Since both men are in the bar every night and Pedott tries to sell to everyone, Lefty should have already have been familiar with Pedott. 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

Best of Season One
12 June 2018 | by solobi8See all my reviews

Everything about this episode was appealing. The actors played their characters exceptionally well.. The script was very good and flowed naturally. The plot and story line was quite interesting and kept my attention. The character Fred Renard was truly scary while the character of Pedott was truly loveable. What a great contrast and the way these two characters were brought together made the plot more exciting. A great story that made complete sense unlike most of the series episodes.

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