The late 70s were exciting times for a young middle-schooler in Owensboro. With the opening of the Executive Inn Rivermont followed a year later by the debut of Towne Square Mall, this 11/12-year-old just couldn't be contained.

THE EXCITEMENT OF THE EXECUTIVE INN RIVERMONT

We would visit the Executive Inn JUST to ride up and down in the glass elevator. For me, it was like Owensboro had instantly become a much bigger city. And since I was a kid, the SIZE of that hotel was what impressed me the most; I wasn't thinking about the fact that NOW, big-name stars would be coming to town to perform at the hotel's Showroom Lounge.

DOLLY PARTON AT THE EXECUTIVE INN

You can imagine how excited we all were when we learned Dolly Parton had scheduled not one, but THREE shows, at the Exec in January of 1983. Check out this newspaper ad for the show.

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And THEN you can imagine the disappointment when the shows were abruptly canceled. But the disappointment was tempered when we learned the reason for the shutdown.

WHY DOLLY PARTON EXECUTIVE INN CONCERTS WERE CANCELED

Dolly was whisked out of Owensboro via police escort when she received death threats, according to United Press International, which goes on to inform us that the superstar had been dealing with threats of that nature for SIX YEARS. Why anyone would want to harm or even THREATEN this magnificent human is beyond me, but you can't NOT take that seriously. And so, those 1983 shows were canceled.

But she did make a return appearance and gave an interview to the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer's Keith Lawrence, who was duly impressed. In 2019, Keith said this about the interview.

       "Watched the Dolly Parton 50 Years at the Opry show last night.
I got to do a telephone interview with her in the mid-'80s when she came to the Executive Inn. I interviewed more than 100 celebreties who appeared there through the years. All of them, except her, had an assistant place the call and say, "Hold for (so and so)." She called herself. And I was suitably impressed."

TALKING TO DOLLY PARTON -- LIKE TALKING TO AN OLD FRIEND

That makes perfect sense to me. When I got to meet Dolly in 1993 at the Country Radio Seminar in Nashville during an artist/radio taping session, she was as warm and down-to-earth as you would expect. Radio personnel only had ten minutes with each artist and we maximized it. She asked me about growing up in Kentucky and we talked about good southern cooking. And then my time was up. She's so completely real that I momentarily forgot I was talking to one of the biggest stars on the planet.

That sentiment is pretty much echoed in this comment from the Keith Lawrence post.

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To this day, I cannot imagine why anyone would "hate" Dolly Parton, as the UPI story indicates.

How miserable a human being would you have to be?

26 Performers Who Appeared at Owensboro's Executive Inn Showroom Lounge

There's rarely a conversation I have about the Executive Inn that doesn't lead to someone (myself included) wishing it was still here. So many big names and FUTURE big names performed on that Showroom Lounge stage.

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