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. It is loosely based on the childhood of writer, director, and producer Richard Linklater and presents the fictional tale of Stanley, a fourth-grader, who becomes the first person to land on the Moon.

Setting and style[edit]

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

The film is not cartoonish but serious. Parts of the film were shot in live-action, and that footage was used as a base for the animated film during post-production, resulting in very lifelike characters and motion despite the medium of animation.

The spanking scenes[edit]

The following lines, spoken by the adult Stanley as the narrator, are blended with images of students being paddled in school, at home (outdoors, leaning against a wall), and given the wooden spoon in the garage of their friend's home (M/m and F/m).

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.
  — Narrator (Stanley)

Orchestral music sets in, creating a dramatic mood.

But nobody was more scary than our prinpical, the Grim Reaper himself, Mr. Cowan.
  — Narrator (Stanley)

We see two boys, Tony and Stan (Stanley), standing nervously in a hall, waiting to be met by Mr. Cowan. The big, tall man 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.

  — Mr. Cowan

He 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. The seated boys respond to these terrible sounds as if it were them who were being hit.

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

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

The paddled boy leaves the office through the anteroom, avoiding eye contact with everybody.

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

The boys get up and enter the 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, unconcerned, taking a puff from her cigarette while she watches the boys enter the principal's office to meet their inevitable fate.

Other discipline[edit]

Earlier in the film, during recess, a friend of Stanley's, Ricky Rodriguez, is disciplined by Mr. St. George, the PE coach, by being made to stand with his nose touching a wall:

And that's Mr. St. George, our PE coach, walking Ricky over to the wall. He was a very specific disciplinarian, drawing you a little circle on the nearest wall.
  — Narrator (Stanley)
Here. Put your nose in there and keep it in there.
  — Mr. St. George

Ricky stands on tip toe to reach.

And it was always just a littler higher than was comfortable, so you'd be up on your tippy-toes until the end of the class.

The one time he was sticking my nose to the wall, I was ready for him. The key, I figured, was to imperceptibly spread your stance and slump ever so slightly lower at the crucial moment of his calculation.

  — Narrator (Stanley)

Put your nose there.
  — Mr. St. George

Stan goes on tip toes initially, and then relaxes his stance when the coach leaves.

See also[edit]


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