Don Bestor

Born

  • September 23, 1889
  • Langford, SD

Died

  • January 13, 1970

Theme Songs

  • Teach Me to Smile
  • I'm Not Forgetting

Don Bestor

Orchestra leader Don Bestor learned to play piano at age sixteen and began his professional career in vaudeville. In early 1921 he briefly formed his own dance band before accepting the job as leader of the Benson Orchestra, succeeding Roy Bargy. He remained with that group until 1925, when he left to form his own orchestra again.

In 1933 he put together what would be his most successful group. Though the sound was less impressive than during his Benson days his later orchestra would become famous when featured on Jack Benny's first radio program in 1934. Benny would lead into Bestor with the famous tag, ''Play, Don! Play!'' One of Bestor's achievements was penning the classic Jell-O jingle, ''J-E-L-L-O''. The group was also featured on the Walter O'Keefe Show.

Bestor remained on the radio only a short time, after which he continued to lead his group at ballrooms and theaters across the country until retiring in 1943. Mildred Law was the orchestra's vocalist during its final days.