The Gathering stars Ed Asner as an ill-tempered executive who long ago walked out on his family. Just before Christmas, Asner is told that he has only a few weeks to live. He confides this information to his estranged wife Maureen Stapleton, who suggests that he call his four adult children (Gail Strickland, Gregory Harrison, Rebecca Balding, Lawrence Pressman) together for one last reunion. He agrees on the proviso that they not be told of his imminent death. Of the four offspring, Asner is most trepidatious about seeing Harrison, who was virtually disowned when he moved to Canada during the Vietnam War. But The Gathering is a Christmas movie, and does its best to stay heartwarming. Made for TV and first shown December 4, 1977, The Gathering was the pilot for a potential series--(presumably one without Ed Asner, unless his character suddenly experienced a miracle cure).