What You Need

What You Need

::"For the INXS song, see What You Need (song)."Infobox Television episode
Title = What You Need
Series = The Twilight Zone

Caption = Steve Cochran and Ernest Truex in What You Need
Season = 1
Episode = 12
Airdate = December 25, 1959
Production = 173-3622
Writer = Rod Serling
(Adapted from the story of the same name by Lewis Padgett (pseudonym for Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore). First published in the October 1945 issue of "Astounding Science-Fiction")
Director =Alvin Ganzer
Guests = Steve Cochran : Fred Renard
Ernest Truex : Pedott
Arlene Martel : Girl in Bar
Music = Original score by Nathan Van Cleave
Episode list = List of Twilight Zone episodes
Prev = And When the Sky Was Opened
Next = The Four of Us Are Dying

"What You Need" is an episode of the American television anthology series "The Twilight Zone".

Opening narration


Pedott, a salesman, has the curious ability to give people exactly what they need before they need it. The old peddler enters a cafe where he first gives a woman a vial of cleaner. Then, he gives a down-on-his-luck ex-baseball player bus tickets. The ball player receives a job offer in the city the tickets are for; and the ball player needs his jacket cleaned, which the woman just happens to have. Renard, a two-bit thug, asks Pedott to give him what he needs, and the peddler gives him a pair of scissors which save Renard's life when his scarf gets caught in an elevator's doors. Renard shows up at Pedott's apartment asking for another thing he "needs," and the peddler comes up with a leaky pen that predicts a winning racehorse. Renard then starts menacing Pedott for more. Sensing Renard will eventually kill him, Pedott gives him a pair of new shoes. When a car suddenly heads directly toward Renard, he tries to run, but the new soles are so slippery, he cannot escape on the wet pavement. He is struck and killed. The shoes were what "Pedott" needed.

Closing narration

Preview for Next Week's Story

Production information

The original story featured a machine that could foretell an individual's probable future. Serling replaced this science-fiction element with a street peddler who could magically perform the same function, possibly to make the message more poignant (i.e. the machine could have been stolen and used by anyone, whereas a natural talent comes from within).

The final shot before the first commercial (while Serling is concluding his narration) is actually shot "backwards"; looking carefully, one can see smoke returning to Renard's cigarette.

Other media

This episode inspired the song of the same name by British post-punk band The Fall from their acclaimed 1985 album This Nation's Saving Grace.

This episode was also the inspiration for the Stephen King short story "I Know What You Need", appearing in his first short story anthology Night Shift.


*Zicree, Marc Scott: "The Twilight Zone Companion". Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)
*DeVoe, Bill. (2008). "Trivia from The Twilight Zone". Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1593931360
*Grams, Martin. (2008). "The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic". Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0970331090

External links

* [http://www.tv.com/the-twilight-zone/what-you-need/episode/12596/summary.html TV.com episode page]
* [http://www.cbs.com/classics/the_twilight_zone/video/video.php?cid=621774886&pid=HGg50lNcBmj_3c9hQzkUL3XALUWyenMx&play=true&cc=0 Full video of the episode at CBS.com]

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