Candy Pants—the original edible underwear—has found itself the subject of a documentary from director and writer Francis Gaspirini.
Gaspirini happened upon the story on a local Los Angeles NPR show called Good Food. And while it’s hard to think of edible underwear as “food,” the product did, in fact, get featured on the show. “They occasionally do off-beat stories,” Gaspirini said, and Candy Pants certainly fits that mold.
It was the producer of Good Food that found the product’s inventors, Lee Brady and David Sanderson, living happily sipping cold drinks by their pool in a Glenn Wright home in Wilton Manors. Amazingly, the creation of Candy Pants isn’t the pair’s most amazing achievement. These guys originally met at a party in Chicago during the blizzard of 1967, and after two weeks of dating, moved in together. Next year, they’ll celebrate their 50th anniversary.
In the gay world that makes them rare enough, but couple that with the fact that they lived in a 25-room haunted mansion in the Windy City with an ever-changing assortment of roommates populating the place. Add the invention of Candy Pants and immediately understand that Gaspirini hit pay dirt with this tale.
“Their relationship,” Gaspirini says, “has spanned the history of gay rights in the United States.” And, of course, he’s right.
In Chicago, 1967, there were gay bars, but you did not go around holding hands—or even shaking them if you were smart. Gays navigating them at their own risk. Every gay bar in town in those days had at least one undercover cop among the patrons who was ready, willing and able to bring the whole place down to the police station if anyone even looked like they were flirting.
“When I first met David, he began downloading his life to me, and it was a little much for me to not even get a word in. I guess I was the more reserved one,” Lee says, before adding the David is “full of energy and vigor.” One can just imagine, since it was David’s young gay brother who was the original inspiration for Candy Pants.
“Instead of saying ‘f*ck off,’ my brother used to say ‘eat my shorts.’ So, we were all sitting around one night and I thought, ‘We ought to make underwear we can eat.’ Everyone laughed, expect me. We definitely thought of it as a joke and a parady, and it took forever to figure out how to make it.”
When they finally did, they put Candy Pants in a local bath shop, where the very first person to buy a pair happened to be a writer who release information about the edible underwear to the wire services. At one point, the boys were making $150,000 a month by selling Candy Pants around the globe—ultimately selling the company and the patent to mob. IA perfect fit, to hear David and Lee explain it.)
The pair shared the secret of their long relationship, crediting it to adding an assortment of third parties into their mix-and-match.
“Lee and David would form these triads where they would have very intense relationships with a third person,” adds Gaspirini. “Some of them were mentor relationships, some were romantic and sexual, and one was even a woman.”
“She’s our very best friend,” said David. “I met her when I was shoplifting some trinkets from a thrift shop owned by some older gay guys. And so was she.”
As it happens, the owners encourage their lighthandedness to encourage them to follow them downstairs into a basement where they had a little tea parlor set up. “Christina—that’s our best friend’s name—she came down into the basement and we all got to know each other. Such was the way back in the day.
“David brought Christina back to his place,” said Lee, “and I had just moved in. I had only known him for a week, but David gave me a key to his apartment, and low and behold he walked in with Christina who kind of had an Audrey Hepburn look. The three of us have really open minds.” That much goes without saying.
Candy Pants, the documentary, is still in the shooting process, and more information about the project can be found at http://www.documentary.org/film/candypants-fairy-tale.
Photo Credit from Candy Pants Documentary Facebook Page