Twilight Zone – What You Need

★★★1/2 December 25, 1959 Season 1 Episode 12

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

This is a good solid episode but not a classic. The thing about the Twilight Zone is… even the average episodes (average for the Twilight Zone) can become personal favorites.

An old man (Pedott) with a gift that can give you what you need. It could be cleaning fluid, a bus ticket, or a pair of scissors. You would not believe so, but you would end up needing them. He doesn’t use his gift on anyone but the ones he does bestow things to…they are usually grateful. What you need could be something small or something important to save your life.

Enter Mr. Fred Renard played by Steve Cochran. He is a nobody…a nothing that wants to be a somebody and not earn it. He sees the old man with a gift and wants everything. Cochran plays this bad guy well. He is a bully and blames the world on his problems.

This show was written by Rod Serling and Henry Kuttner

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

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.

Summary

An old street vendor goes to a bar to sell his wares. However, he foresees what each costumer will need in a short period, selling precisely what they need. After selling in the bar, the crook Fred Renard mocks him and the peddler gives a pair of scissors for him. When Fred arrives at the hotel where he is lodged, his scarf is trapped on the elevator door and he only survives due to the pair of scissors. Now Fred believes that the peddler has a gift and he decides to force the old man to tell him the name of the horse that will win a race. The greedy Fred earns a large amount and seeks out the peddler threatening him again that the old man gives him a pair of shoes to Fred. But who needs the pair of shoes?

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

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.

CAST

Steve Cochran … Fred Renard
Ernest Truex … Pedott
Read Morgan … Lefty
Arlene Martel … Girl in Bar (as Arline Sax)
William Edmonson… Bartender
Doris Karnes … Woman
Fred Kruger … Man on Street
Norman Sturgis … Hotel Clerk