Morgy was on the phone. Ever since I saved him from being publicly executed in China recently, Morgy can’t do enough for me.

“Frank, you don’t know how grateful I am that you flew all the way to China to save my life.”

“Stop reminding me! What was I thinking of? It must’ve been the free trip in your Lear jet.”

“I got good news for you! They’re getting ready to shoot a film based on my book. The money has been put up. The script has already been written and they’re getting ready to cast the actors. I was thinking of having Paul Newman play me.”

“I was thinking of Saddam Hussein.”

“I know you’re teasing me, Frank. And out of loving gratitude for all that you’ve done for me – I’m giving you final script approval of ‘Morgentaler: A Difficult Hero’. And also casting approval. You will also do the final edit of the film. Nothing appears on the screen without your approval.”

“Morgy, have you gone completely bonkers?!”

“Frank, I trust you. You saved my life. You’re my friend forever. The script and the contract are already in the mail for your signature.”

Morgy hung up on me and sure enough a script and contract arrived that same day. I signed it. Morgy called about a month later and asked:

“How is our project coming along?”

“Great! Unfortunately I had to make some changes.”


“Yes, I didn’t like the title of the film: ‘A Difficult Hero.’ “I’m now calling it: ‘Morgentaler Sees the Light.”

“What ‘Light’?” Morgentaler asked, suspiciously.

“I’m coming to it.”

“Who’ve you got to play me?”

“I haven’t cast anybody yet. I’ve got a couple of Supreme Court Justices who are anxious to play you. Failing that – you may have to take on the role yourself.”

“I’m willing” said Morgentaler humbly.

“There have been some changes. The first half of the movie deals with your financial fiascos in Montreal.”

“What? That wasn’t in the book!”

Taking liberties

“No, but it should’ve been. Morgy, the film is never the same as the book. You know that. Then we have your first couple of wives and lovers come on camera and tell what they really think of you. That could be the best part of the film A little ‘cinema verite’. Then we have a gang of punitive fathers come on camera – heavily disguised – who are armed to the teeth and are pursuing you – seeking revenge. That takes up the final 15 minutes of the film with you on the run which is quite exciting.”

I could tell over the phone that Morgy was having apoplexy but I carried on bravely.

“These bad buys have been chasing you all over Toronto – after blowing up your abortion clinic.”

“Blowing up my abortion clinic?!” Morgentaler said.

“Yeah, Morgy, remember these are bad guys pretending to be pro-life – trying to give the pro-life movement a bad name. They pursue you all over Toronto – through a snake-infested cave in the Eaton Centre. Launching a rocket attack on you in your Lear jet at Pearson Airport – chasing you in a tank all around Queen’s Park and finally they trap you on the Bloor Viaduct. These six vicious-looking guys surround you and you have nowhere to go but jump off the bridge 400 feet into the Don River.”

“The Don River! It’s only about two feet deep there.”

“Yes. Unfortunately we don’t have any stuntmen. I’m afraid, Morgy, for realism – it’s got to be you.”

“How could I survive?!”

“Dr. Bernard Nathanson happens to be fishing down below and he sees you jump and he wades into the icy cold water and catches you and saves your life.”

“What is Nathanson doing in my life story?”

“He’s a hero. And out of loving gratitude to him – you give up doing abortions and open up a clinic taking out gall bladders. That’s where the title ‘Morgentaler Sees the Light’ comes from. I tell you, Morgy, this movie will pack ’em in. And we’re working on a sequel to this film where you become a Roman Catholic priest.”

All I could hear over the phone was Morgentaler collapsing on the floor.

(Frank Kennedy, a member of The Interim Board of Directors, writes a monthly column on Ontario government affairs).