The Twilight Zone

Season 1 Episode 12

What You Need

Aired Unknown Dec 25, 1959 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
164 votes

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Episode Summary


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.

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  • One of my all time favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone!

    A street vendor has a knack for telling people exactly what they need to purchase from him. Although the items may seem silly at the time, the customer always ends up needing that exact item. A shady character in the bar begins to pick up on the old vendor's gift, and threatens him to tell him what he needs. The vendor does what he is asked, however it isn't enough for the man. He comes back to the vendor for more, and the vendor will not comply. Then the vendor decides to give the man shoes. An awesome ending awaits that I do not want to give away.. Just an all around great episode.moreless
  • It's not what you need.

    "What You Need" starts out intriguingly, but this story of a supernatural peddler is a little too much like "Mr. Denton on Doomsday," and the finale feels rushed, like it was thrown out there solely to produce a "gotcha!" moment.

    The idea is a good one, but we never really know why Renard is so quick to exploit the gift of Mr. Pedott. It's also unclear as to why Pedott waits so long, after giving Renard "what he needs" for most of the episode, to cut him off.

    Ernest Truex is very good in the part of Pedott and does his best to sell the conclusion, even if it is lackluster. And there are some nice spooky scenes, such as Renard's scarf getting caught in the elevator. But with its finale spelled out to the viewer in clumsy exposition, "What You Need" doesn't wind up among the cream of the crop in "The Twilight Zone."moreless
Arlene Martel

Arlene Martel

Girl in Bar

Guest Star

William Edmonson

William Edmonson


Guest Star

Doris Karnes

Doris Karnes

Woman on the Street

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • 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.

  • 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)