Forty-two years ago today — September 11, 1966 — Del Mar was renamed “Clarksville” as part of a promotion for the Monkees’ TV show to debut the following night. The Sunday event marked the first time the foursome performed in public.
Ron Jacobs was a DJ at L.A. radio station KHJ at the time. “One of Boss Radio’s most exciting promotions was staging an actual ‘Last Train to Clarksville,’ ” he says on his website. “A few hundred KHJ winners rode to ‘Clarksville,’ the city of Del Mar.”
“The tenth callers would get two free tickets to the Last Train to Clarksville,” recalls KHJ promotions associate Barbara Hamaker in the Michael Nesmith biography Total Control.
“To this day I don’t know how we did it,” continues Hamaker. “I was the one who had to type up all the releases and all of the stuff that was involved in getting kids onto the train…we used some Podunk town called Del Mar.”