I was in line at the Post Office a few days ago, casually minding my own business as the line inched along, when suddenly I heard it…

The Imperial March.

In perfect crisp MP3 sound. And it was coming from the phone belonging to the thirty-something year old gentleman in front of me. After he took his call, I asked him where he got his ringtone. He told me with a smile, and then I showed him some Star Wars graphics on my phone. Not to be outdone, he produced an iPhone from a shirt pocket and showed me even more Star Wars tones and graphics he had. We quickly were knee deep into chatting about Star Wars and what happened to our childhood Star Wars action figure collections. Needless to say waiting in line at the Post Office suddenly was a lot less painful.

Even though I’m very aware that Star Wars is ubiquitous, I’m always amazed when and where it’ll pop into my every day life. Sometimes I think it’s following me around on my errands. That very concept got me thinking. As a small experiment, I downloaded my own Star Wars ringtone based on the guy in the Post Office’s suggestion. I wanted to see just how much attention it would bring and what types of responses it would elicit.

The result was truly amazing. With the music and sounds from Star Wars being so recognizable, I soon realized having a Star Wars ringtone on your phone is a great way to break the ice with almost anyone. Over the past few days I’ve heard the equivalent of, “Great ringtone” almost everywhere my phone has sung. I’ve even witnessed people continuing to hum or whistle the music long after I’ve answered my phone. Star Wars is infectious, and I’m happy to spread to disease!

I’ve attempted to do some research into the history of Star Wars ringtones, but it’s quite difficult to pinpoint when and where it all began. But as tones have progressed from monophonic to polyphonic to realtones, it’s safe to say that Star Wars themes have been along for the ride. With the amazing quality of today’s realtones (or truetones), Star Wars music can truly come alive on your phone, and the days of the wonky monophonic beeps and twitters are thankfully several Hyperspace jumps behind us.

Even though the early days of Star Wars ringtone are largely undocumented, recent history is much clearer. Looking back to 2005, many fans will remember that Cingular launched a wildly successful tie-in campaign with “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith”. They touted a Jabba the Hutt sized selection of Star Wars ringtones and games for their mobile devices. The centerpiece for the marketing campaign was a funny television commercial featuring Chewbacca in the recording studio working on perfecting his Wookie growl. The haughty Simon Cowell-esque producer in the ad tells Chewbacca, “Very nice, Chewy. I love it. Now make me hate it.”

Hopefully, the future holds even more cool and interesting features for Star Wars lovers. Special ringback tones are now being discussed and becoming all the rage. So, if you haven’t taken the plunge into Star Wars ringtones yet, I recommend you give it a whirl. GalacticBinder has a large selection of links in their Merchandise/Ringtones category to find the tone that’s right for you and your phone. And next time you’re in line at the Post Office or the grocery store and you hear the Imperial March on the phone of the guy behind you in line… it just might be me!