According to some MAD collectors the straight jacket was not sold with a working padlock.
MAD collector J.L.: Over the years I have spoken to original straight-jacket purchasers and I have owned 3 different ones. They had to get the locks on somehow so they do open and close, plus cheaper to use an existing lock than manufacture a mock one. Check the old letter pages and see if anyone mentioned the key or playing with the lock. If there were keys most of the locks would be lost by now. The reason the majority have the lock is people couldn't remove them.
MAD collector D.D.: Grant Geissman was mentioning in "Collectibly Mad" that the padlock worked; it could be locked and unlocked. About fifteen hundred Mad Straight Jackets were sold, according to Bill Gaines. If a set of keys was included, they would've been lost or misplaced by now.
MAD Collector John Hett: The Journal of MADNess weighs in:
1. The lock worked. It was a mass produced toy lock that was in three different sizes and often found on a 60's toy treasure chest. YES, I had one.
2. Yes, the lock came with a key and so did the MAD Straight Jacket. 2 of 5 that I have owned had the original key. Keys can be found at flea markets because these locks were mass produced by the 10's of thousands.
3. The padlock can be easily opened by re-bending a common paperclip, Straighten the clip. Bend it in half. Bend OUT both ends into a small letter T. Insert and fiddle with it and you will get it open.
4. According to the creator of the MAD Straight Jacket - Tom Collins- There appears to have been as many as 500 produced. The initial order was for more. Also, At the end of his life, Tom Collins stated that the Straight Jacket may not have exceeded 250 to 300 made. There were enough silk screens made of the back image to satisfy 1500 to 2000. But since these were hand made in New York he believed because they were so labor intensive that the run may not have even gotten to 500. Tom Collins himself purchased the locks and personally delivered them to be put on the jackets. You can read Dick Hanchette's article about the MAD Straight Jacket in the Journal of MADness. I sold two of Tom's original Straight Jackets. One was the prototype and the other went to Dick's collection.
It is my opinion based on conversations with Tom and Al Feldstein that this product never exceeded 500 copies - if that.
John E. Hett