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Fairfield and Fantasy Mix on 'Who's the Boss?

By Debra A. Estock
Submitted by ReJoys2

Two weeks after the election, Fairfield residents know who rules the roost as First Selectman Jacquelyn Durrell starts her fourth term.

But every Tuesday night a weekly battle continues to see who is the master of the Bower household in Who's the Boss? the ABC Television sitcom set in none other than Fairfield, Connecticut.

Fairfield was chosen from among several New England locations becuase the producers of Who's the Boss? fell in love with the town's quaint charm and picturesque scenery, according to studio publicity director Libby Gill.

For Fairfield residents, it's interesting to watch the show and note some familiar names and places immortalized on the tube. The town's hotel is called the Fairfield Inn, a former restaurant and catering facility that today sits vacant on the Post Road. The high school is called Fairfield High, and in February Danza appeared on the show wearing a Fairfield University sweatshirt, which school officials sent him and requested he wear.

In September, the Citizen-News and the town jointly sent 350th anniversary sweatshirts, mugs, buttons, bumper stickers and a complimentary subscription of the hometown newspaper to the five cast members and production staff at Columbia Pictures Television in Los Angeles, Calif.

"We're delighted that the real-life citizens of Fairfield enjoy their fictional counterparts ," said Gill. "All of us at Who's the Boss? congratulate you on your 350th anniversary. As six-year residents, we're happy to be a part of the Fairfield family."

Who's the Boss? entered its sixth season in September and is one of the anchors in ABC's Tuesday night lineup.

For those unfamiliar with the show, the premise of Who's the Boss? revolves around the dilemmas faced by Tony Micelli, a widower and former professional baseball player whose career was ended by an injury. Pressed into earning a living to raise his daughter, Tony is the live-in housekeeper for wealthy advertising executive Angela Bower, who was having difficulty in pursuing her career while running her household and raising her son.

The 38-year-old Danza stars as Tony. He came to center stage in 1978 with his role as Tony Banta, a cab-driving boxer, in the hit comedy Taxi. Danza, a graduate of the University of Dubuque in Iowa, was on his way to a professional boxing career before being spotted by a talent scout and landing on the role in Taxi. In addition to directing several episodes of Who's the Boss? Danza's film credits include parts in She's Out of Control, Hollywood Knights, Going Ape and The Cannonball Run II.

Playing off Danza's character and secretly wooing his affections is actress Judith Light, who portrays his boss, Angela. A Trenton, N.J., native, light made her Broadway debut in A Doll's House and returned to the stage in the title role in Herzl. She also had a starring role for five seasons on the daytime drama One Life to Live, followed by guest appearances on several prime time TV shows. She starred in the television movie The Ryan White Story and My Boyfriend's Back.

Meddling in household affairs, so to speak, is Angela's mother, Mona Robinson, played by actress Katherine Helmond. Helmond portrayed Jessica Tate in the TV comedy classic Soap and has appeared in numerous films, television movies and plays during her career.

Starring as Tony's precocious teenage daughter, Samantha, is Alyssa Milano. Milano, 16, began performing at the age of 8, when she auditioned and was one of four younsters chosen for a role in the touring company of the musical Annie.

Thirteen-year-old Danny Pintauro appears as Angela's son, Jonathan. A veteran at modeling and TV commercials since age 2, Pintauro appeared for five years in the daytime soap opera As the World Turns and made his film debut in the adaptation of Stephen King's thriller Cujo.

Gill said a typical schedule for the cast and about 50 members of the production staff is Monday through Friday from the end of July for roughly the next nine months to complete on taping season. Each Monday, the cast members are given the scripts to read. Tuesday is spent in informal rehersals and Wednesday, the show is given a preliminary run-through, Gill said. On Thursday, the characters go through a full techinal dress rehersal on the set to work out their camera moves and on Friday, two shows are taped before a live studio audience.

As to the future themes for the show - including the romantic entanglements between the two main characters - Gill said the writers are content with doing one show at a time.

"There will be no major plot changes near the future," Gill said.

According to a show description from Columbia Pictures Television, "Tony and Angela enjoy a unique relationship, one that goes well beyond employer/employee. While the best of friends and platonic confidantes, they cannot escape the impulses that two single, attractive adults living under the same roof inevitably feel. Their friendship is both special and unusual. They complement each other perfectly. Now the only real question remaining in the Bower household is determining "who's the boss?"

Who's the Boss? airs 8 p.m. Tuesday night on ABC Television, which locally is WTNH-TV, Channel 8 in New Haven. Syndicated shows from its first seasons air on Channel 8 at 4:30 p.m. daily and on WOR-TV Channel 9 at 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.