The Twilight Zone

What You Need

Season 1, Ep 12, Aired 12/25/59
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  • Episode Description
  • A two-bit thug thinks he's found the key to a better life in an old sidewalk salesman who has the uncanny ability to tell people what they need the most.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Buck Houghton

  • Arlene Martel

    Girl in Bar

  • Rod Serling

    Executive Producer for Cayuga Productions

  • William Edmonson

    Bartender

  • Mildred Gusse

  • Fan Reviews (2)
  • One of my all time favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone!

    By PurpleBeans, Jan 23, 2008

  • It's not what you need.

    By jamoon2006, Aug 05, 2008

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (5)

    • (Opening Narration) Narrator: You're looking at Mr. Fred Renard, who carries on his shoulder a chip the size of the national debt. This is a sour man, a friendless man, a lonely man, a grasping, compulsive, nervous man. This is a man who has lived thirty-six undistinguished, meaningless, pointless, failure-laden years and who at this moment looks for an escape - any escape, any way, anything, anybody - to get out of the rut. And this little old man is just what Mr. Renard is waiting for.

    • Renard: Why does it have to stop? Pedott: Because the things you need most, I can't supply. Renard: What are they? Pedott: Serenity, peace of mind, humor, the ability to laugh at one's self. Those are things you need the most, but it's beyond my power to give them to you.

    • Renard: C'mon old man, tell me – are these what I need? Pedott: I didn't say they were. But I'll tell you something – they happen to be what I need.

    • Pedott: Mr. Renard, what I saw in your eyes at that bar was death. My death. You were going to kill me. So what was needed for Mr. Renard was slippery shoes... that's what was needed, slippery shoes.

    • (Closing Narration) Narrator: Street scene. Night. Traffic accident. Victim named Fred Renard, gentleman with a sour face to whom contentment came with difficulty. Fred Renard, who took all that was needed, in the Twilight Zone.

    Notes (3)

    • This episode is based on the short story "What You Need" by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore. This story was first published in Astounding Science Fiction (October, 1945).

    • Before The Twilight Zone, this story was adapted as an episode of the sci-fi anthology Tales of Tomorrow (under the same title).

    • Injoke: The names of some of the jockeys in the sports section of the newspaper are the names of show crew: Serling (Rod Serling), Clemens (George Clemens), Houghton (Buck Houghton), Butler (Rudy Butler), and Denault (Edward Denault).

    Trivia (2)

    • When Renard enters the elevator, his scarf is hanging straight down his back and is well clear of the elevator doors. However, in the next shot the scarf is suddenly at an angle and caught in the doors.

    • The scene just before the first commercial break and just after Rod Serling's opening narration is obviously being played in reverse. The smoke is traveling downward and back into Renard's cigarette.

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