The Harvard Lampoon is well known for their on-campus pranks and one of their most famous capers involved Burt Ward’s infamous tights. Ward was invited to speak at Harvard in the 1980s, mostly as a prank by some students to see if the staff would go for it. Ward accepted and spoke before a student body of 250 students and as a special surprise, he also brought the costume he wore on the TV show on a mannequin.
O’Brien, then a student at Harvard and a staff member on the Lampoon, masterminded a plan to steal the costume during the speech by dressing up as security guards pretending to guard the outfit. The Lampoon crew turned off the lights in the middle of Ward’s speech and sent in a large man dressed as the Penguin to pose this riddle to Ward: “When is a security guard not a security guard?” At that point, the fake security guards grabbed the costume and ran for the exit.
Peter Sagal, one of the freshmen who helped organize Ward’s visit and now the host of the NPR quiz show ‘Wait, Wait...Don’t Tell Me,' tried to stop them from leaving with the suit but the Lampoon crew made off with the Robin costume. The students prank-called Ward for hours afterwards pretending to be Batman villains, but Ward was a good sport and would answer in Robin-speak, saying, “return it or you will feel my wrath!” Eventually, the costume was returned to him safe and sound.