When I studied animation in college, it was the stop motion animation that really drew me in. While the animation in Rudolph isn’t the best, my childhood wouldn’t have been the same without it.
When Rudolph was born in the North Pole with a glowing red nose, his father makes him hide it. The secret gets out though and after being bullied for it, Rudolph runs away from home. He befriends an elf who would rather be a dentist and a man in search for gold. During their adventures they end up at the island of misfit toys. Rudolph promises before he leaves that he will have Santa find them homes.
Having decided to return home, he finds his parents have gone looking from him. He helps them escape the abominable snowman and they return home to help Santa prepare for Christmas. Cue the fog Santa tasks Rudolph with leading his sleigh through the snow. You know the story. You sang about it in elementary school countless times.
While I find parts of the story problematic (like why is Rudolph only useful if there’s fog?), I do like the lessons about accepting those that are different from you. Prejudices only lead to unhappiness. Everyone deserves to feel loved and needed. Having grown up feeling like much of a misfit myself, this little made for TV special stuck with me all my life. I hope it sticks with you as well.