The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
26 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 »




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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

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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Referenced in Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) See more »


Written by Stan Tracey
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User Reviews

What Do You Need?
24 November 2013 | by darrenpearce111See all my reviews

At the beginning this story focuses on Lefty (Read Morgan), a former baseball pitcher drowning his sorrow in a bar, and what he needs. There is also a girl (Arlene Martel- mysterious nurse in season two's Twenty Two) whose need happily makes her path and Lefty's cross. The peddler, who knows which little item can lead a person to help bring their life meaningfully together, then disappears from the bar. This is because Fred Rennard, a charmless, malevolent loser is watching him.

Steve Cochrane who played gangster roles opposite James Cagney and Joan Crawford in the early fifties plays Rennard. This is a very good little morality tale about the importance of using things not people. Also how little it would take to put one's life on a happy path providing you take a droplet of good fortune with a virtuous approach.

Sorry if I'm sounding a bit preachy, but I love to find meaning in the Zone.

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Release Date:

25 December 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

What You Need See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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