Tv Movie Dramatizes Family`s Triumphs
January 5, 1986|By Brian Kaufman, Staff Writer
The real stars of A Time to Triumph, a CBS television movie about the hard times and conquests of Concetta and Chuck Hassan, probably won`t be able to find the show on their cable box Tuesday night. Concetta and Chuck Hassan are living in Seoul, South Korea. But the former Margate couple have dealt with missing the network premiere of their life story much the same way they`ve dealt with life itself. They`ve found a way to overcome. ``They want me to tape it on the VCR and send it to them,`` the Hassans` 14- year-old daughter, Jo Ellen, said Friday from Savannah, Ga. Although Jo Ellen, now a typical freshman at an all-girl parochial school, doesn`t have a role in the film, it was her childhood heart condition that foreshadowed the events that changed her family forever. Jo Ellen`s grandfather, Boca Raton resident Arthur Lattavo, remembers well what happened. ``She was the third daughter,`` Lattavo said. ``And when she was 5 weeks old they learned she had a hole in her heart.`` Shortly after that, Concetta`s 37- year-old husband, then manager of Bachelors III and the owner of a clothing store, had a series of heart attacks, Lattavo said. Within six weeks the family had lost its comfortable middle-class standard of living and was on welfare, according to Judy Kauffman, co-producer of the movie. ``Concetta said she even would collect soda bottles to buy rice to feed to the children,`` Kauffman said. Jo Ellen got better and Chuck didn`t get any worse, but the family was broke. Concetta, a homemaker with limited job skills, didn`t really know what to do. But she did what she could - she joined the Army. The rest is Hollywood. At 32, Concetta marched and crawled through Alabama mud and boot camp at Fort McClellan. After basic training, the family moved to West Berlin, where Concetta was an administrative specialist for the Army. Chuck, weakened and unable to work, cleaned house, sipped coffee with Army wives and raised the children. A few years later, Concetta decided to challenge herself again. She learned to fly Huey helicopters, the largest used by the Army. And in Seoul, she`s still flying them today. ``The Army stuff is interesting. We`ve got a lot of good shots of her flying the helicopter in the movie, but it`s really a love story,`` Kauffman said. ``That they stuck together through it all.`` The made-for-TV movie ``is a drama based on a true story,`` according to Grace Koener, press representative for CBS Entertainment, so some details have been changed. Instead of a club manager in Fort Lauderdale, Chuck is a construction worker in Columbus, Ga., ``because we didn`t want any distinguishable locale,`` Kauffman said. ``In a two-hour movie there`s not enough time to get every move,`` Kauffman said. Chuck did work as a construction worker at one time, she said. The movie was shot during September and October in Alabama and Georgia, and Concetta flies the helicopter in the movie. Patty Duke, best known for her performance in The Miracle Worker, plays Concetta in the movie. Joe Bologna, who starred in Blame It On Rio and appeared in My Favorite Year, plays Chuck. Jo Ellen isn`t sure who plays her part in the movie, but she doesn`t really care, either. ``I`m just glad something good has finally come out of all of it,`` Jo Ellen said. ``My mom`s worked very hard and she deserves all the credit that she gets.`` The story airs at 9 p.m. Tuesday on WTVJ Channel 4.
A Time to Triumph (1986) TV Movie
Cast: Dara McGarry, Denise Mickelbury, Jackie Welch, Joseph Bologna, Julie Bovasso, Patty Duke