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It was originally going to be sung early in the film, in a scene where Roger Rabbit and his friend arrive in Hollywood and are hired as waiters for a grand party to celebrate the town's biggest producer's new movie musical. The producer asks the stars of the film, a duo that pays homage to Fred Astraire and Ginger Rogers, to perform his favorite number, This Only Happens In The Movies. The actor is a drunk who cannot perform, but Roger's friend accepts the offer, having had a longtime crush on the actress, by stepping forward and says that he has memorized the entire routine after seeing one of the team's previous films multiple times. The actress is not too sure about this, but the crowd insists that she does it, so the two perform the number.
Roger's friend turns out to be even better than the actor himself. By the end of the song, they fall in love with each other "at first sight" in a way that can "only happen in the movies". They gaze into each other's eyes and the crowd holds its breath, but Roger ruins the moment by causing mayhem.
This only happens in the movies
Life's not this perfect off the screen
Stars never gleem so bright
Nights never seem so right
Except in the movies that I've seen
Fate doesn't work like in the movies
Love never enters right on cue
Strangers don't meet like this
And get swept off their feet like this
The way movies always say they do
Somehow this moon is too enchanting
Somehow this moment's too ideal
Somehow this moonlight we're enthralled to
Is all too unreal
For this only happens in the movies
So this can only be pretend
But if this is my chance
The prelude to a new romance
Let's hope that it has a happy end
A Hollywood platnium stardust happy-end