From Tonight, Tonight to SpongeBob

Tonight, Tonight to SpongeBob

The Smashing Pumpkins video for Tonight, Tonight was an homage to the work of Georges Méliès and included the future voice of SpongeBob Square Pants.

Le Voyage

In 1995 the Smashing Pumpkins released their critically acclaimed third album, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, a double album. One of the hit singles from the album was the song Tonight, Tonight.

The video for Tonight, Tonight featured an early 20th century couple and their fantastical, whimsical, steampunk adventure of traveling to the moon & back. The highly-stylized video is an homage to the work of French filmmaker Georges Méliès, specifically his most famous film Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon), made in 1902. Méliès was inspired by the writings of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells and created a movie that is considered one of the first science fiction films. The special effects, quaint by today’s standards, captivated audiences of the early 1900s. Nothing else like it had ever been seen. Méliès used his background as a magician and of the theatrical stage to create elaborate sets and special effects. The film turned out to be so popular that it had the ignominious distinction of being widely pirated after its release, including by Thomas Edison.


The directors of Tonight, Tonight, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, worked in several direct references to A Trip to the Moon including an additional nod to Méliès by naming the ship at the end of the video the S.S. Méliès. The man and woman at the heart of the adventure were played by real-life husband and wife Tom Kenny and Jill Talley.  Around the same time as the video Kenny & Talley started work on the early ’90s HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show with Bob and David, some episodes of which were directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Several years after Tonight, Tonight and Mr. Show, Tom Kenny found his most famous role: the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants.

The Tonight, Tonight video was a special intersection in the careers of many talented people. James Iha, guitarist for the Smashing Pumpkins, said that it was the only video of theirs that turned out exactly as it was written. Billy Corgan has said “… you knew it was something special because the moment it was on TV everybody, and I mean everybody, on the street that you would meet wanted to talk about it. It was just one of those videos, for some reason, that connected with everybody.”