For the DS9 episode of the same name, please see "It's Only a Paper Moon".

"It's Only a Paper Moon", written by Harold Arlen, with lyrics by E.Y. Harburg and Billy Rose, in 1933, was one of the many Earth songs that Vic Fontaine frequently performed for the citizens and crew of Deep Space 9. The song was popular with Vic's friends known as the Rat Pack, including Frank Sinatra, who recorded it in 1950 and again in 1960. (DS9: "It's Only a Paper Moon")

In a metatextual twist, the song refers to the necessary suspension of disbelief by visitors to Vic's lounge as well as the TV audience. Additionally, the song's lyrics served as the inspiration for the title of the episode in which it was featured. The episode begins with Vic finishing the song, which refers to the fact that Nog loses touch with reality and begins living in a holosuite world with Vic.


I never feel a thing is real
When I'm away from you
Out of your embrace
The world's a temporary parking place
Mmm, mm, mm, mm
A bubble for a minute
Mmm, mm, mm, mm
You smile, the bubble has a rainbow in it

Say, it's only a paper moon
Sailing over a cardboard sea
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me
Yes, it's only a canvas sky
Hanging over a muslin tree
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me

Without your love
It's a honky-tonk parade
Without your love
It's a melody played in a penny arcade

It's a Barnum and Bailey world
Just as phony as it can be
But it wouldn't be make-believe
If you believed in me.

According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 1, p. 379), this song was making a comparison of the power of humanoid imagination to that of romantic love.

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