The Gathering (1977)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Edward Asner starred in this 1977 Christmas television film. It is a very sad but quite lovely film, about a man who is dying and has one last reunion with his mostly estranged family. 

Edited to add (January 2016). The film in its entirety has been removed from YouTube. Hopefully, it will be back someday).

Notice the incredible cast “gathered” for this film. In the 1970s many television movies were theater quality films. 

Since there were only 3 television networks (plus PBS), actors definitely wanted to be part of big television productions, which would pull in ratings numbers that can only be dreamed of today. I noticed that many in the cast appeared with Asner in either The Mary Tyler Moore Show or in Lou Grant, Asner's two classic television series. 

1977 was a perfect year for Asner, career-wise. When The Gathering first aired in December 1977, The Mary Tyler Moore show had just completed a very successful run, and he had just started his own show, Lou Grant, continuing the character he had created on the previous show. He had also appeared in the blockbuster miniseries, Roots.

There was a sequel a few years later without Asner: The Gathering Part II. 

This film won the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Special - Drama or Comedy and was nominated for several more Emmys.  It is available on DVD.



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