Apollo 10 1⁄2: A Space Age Childhood

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Apollo 10 1⁄2: A Space Age Childhood is a 2022 American animated coming of age drama film set during the events preceding the Apollo 11 Moon landing, loosely based on the childhood of writer, director, and producer Richard Linklater. It presents a fictional tale of a fourth-grader who becomes the first person to land on the Moon.

The film is set in Houston in the 1960s, during the Space Race.

The spanking scenes

The following lines spoken by the adult Stanley are blended with images of students being paddled in school, at home, and in their friend's homes. During the last line, orchestral music creates a dramatic mood.

One of the downsides to bein’ a kid during this era was they still thought it was a great idea to train children like they were animals, which required constant reminders of what was incorrect conduct. You were always one little screw-up away from a beating from any number of the adults in your life. Parents, principals, coaches, even your friends’ parents who had these convenient “You can paddle my kid and I can paddle yours” agreements. But nobody was more scary than our prinpical, the Grim Reaper himself, Mr. Cowan.
  — Narrator (Stanley)

We see two boys standing in a hall waiting to meet Mr. Cowan. He approaches them menacingly.

Are you boys out here for disciplinary reasons?
  — Mr. Cowan

The boys nod meekly. Mr. Cowan raises his eyebrows and exhales audibly. He then makes the index finger gesture to follow him.

Follow me.
  — Mr. Cowan

The boys follow Mr. Cowan to his office. They must wait on a bench in the anteroom while the principal deals with another student. Loud paddle whacks followed by "ouch"s are heard though the closed door. A terrible sound to which the seated boys respond physically, as if it were them who were being hit.

No. No, no, no, no.
  — One of the boys, whispering

All right. Get back to class.
  — Mr. Cowan

The paddled boy leaves the office, without a word, avoiding eye contact with the two waiting boys.

Tony, Stan. Get in here.
  — Mr. Cowan, from the other room

The boys get up and enter to door to Mr. Cowan's office.

I guess it fit the times. Life was cheaper. We were all more expendable. And no one thought too deeply about safety.
  — Narrator (Stanley)

We see the secretary, unmoved, taking a puff from her cigarette while she looks at where the boys now are.

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