YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

NEIGHBORS : Toy Trucks : A delivery company expects to be extra busy this holiday season, bringing joy to kids.


So it's beginning to look a lot like a hectic holiday season? Well, just imagine what it's like for the people who work at a delivery service this time of year.

"Our business increases about 25% from October to December," said Steve Keihner, president of Westwind Express Courier, which has its corporate offices in Newbury Park.

"Our drivers drive about 350 miles per day," he said.

As if Westwind Express employees weren't busy enough, from Saturday to Dec. 23 the company is offering to go to businesses throughout the county and pick up toys to be distributed to local charities at no cost to giver or receiver.

"I hired two full-time drivers to drive around all day long to pick up these toys. There could be thousands of them," Keihner said.

When he was handing out posters about the offer, a receptionist in one office said her daughter had died two months ago of leukemia. "All her friends and a lot of people from the community had bought stuffed animals for her. They want to donate the dolls."

As unclear as the future may be, one thing is certain: The new year will roll around. And no one is happier about that than photographer Tom Kelly.

Why? Because a major portion of his income comes from the sale of calendars. Kelly, who recently opened a studio in Ventura, is the guy who sets up the scenes and takes the pictures for the popular antique doll calendars put out by Workman Publishing.

"Doing calendars is like rolling dice," he said. Puppies, for example, he said. "Are they going to be able to sell 50,000 copies? Fifteen years ago calendars weren't as big as they are today. The business is now in the billions of dollars."

Kelly has done calendars featuring other subjects, but he said his doll calendars are his most popular. "I think that's because dolls look back at you," he said. "They are a little bit alive."

Not only do the dolls have a human quality to them, Kelly said, but with the right--or wrong--lighting they can look a little eerie, especially the dolls with the teeth. (Check out October's 1990 model).

Kelly said he never gets frightened by the dolls but he does get tired of them. "After you do this many calendars you could sometimes just take a doll and throw it against the wall."

So what kind of fancy calendar does Kelly use for himself? "I really don't use one. I just use the plain white kind," he said. "What do you think, that I have big cheesecake calendars on my wall?"

By the way, Kelly's father, the late Tom Sr., who had his own photography studio in Hollywood in the 1940s, was a photographer of the stars. In fact, his nude photo of Marilyn Monroe ended up as the first centerfold for Playboy magazine.

Saxophonist Gerald Albright will perform at the Dorill B. Wright Center on Sunday on the first stop of a tour promoting his third Atlantic Records album, "Dream Come True." It's kind of a hometown performance for Albright, who is a resident of Moorpark.

Yes, it's true. A saxophonist from Moorpark.

"Actually, I'm from Los Angeles. I've been a resident of Moorpark for about a year," Albright said. "My family was expanding so I needed more square footage."

Los Angeles Times Articles