Who was the real Ralph?
As with Lassie, there were many Ralphs. The last Ralph was named Lincoln but most of the Ralphs were female, including recent “Ralphs” Phyllis, Charlotte, and Pebbles.
Where did Ralph come from?
Farmer Ada Davis trained the swimming pigs for Aquarena Springs for 20 years.
What is Aquarena Springs?
A former roadside attraction in San Marcos, TX, near the headwaters of the San Marcos River off I-35. Some claim it's the oldest site continuously inhabited by humans in North America (12,000 years). In its heyday in the 1970s (perhaps not coincidentally, also the heyday for hallucinogenic drugs), Aquarena Springs had over 500 employees and attracted some 350,000 visitors per year to its glass-bottom boats, Sky Ride tram, arcades, shops and restaurants, and bizarre swimming pig shows in the “Submarine Theatre.”
Can Ralph really swim?
According to Davis, piglets can swim until they reach 60 pounds at around 3 months old, after which they're too big and will cut their own throats with their feet if they try to swim.
What was Ralph's show like?
Over the years, Southwest Texas State University students costumed as Aquamaids, Aquamen, or “natives” performed underwater acrobatics, ate snacks 20 feet below the surface while breathing through tubes, or acted out a melodramatic love story with characters such as She Blushes and He Smells. Spectators watched underwater in the Submarine Theatre or through the glass-bottom boats. Every half hour for 10 hours a day, Ralph dived off a tacky pink volcano, swam around Spring Lake, and was rewarded with a treat.
Who called Ralph's show “one of the most mind-numbing experiences on the planet Earth”?
Ken Lieck, writing in the Austin Chronicle (May 19, 1995). He added, “I have never encountered a drug capable of addling one's mind the way this exhibition does.”
Who called Ralph “one of the more distinguished citizens of San Marcos”?
U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley, in the Lyndon Baines Johnson Lecture at Southwest Texas State University (November 6, 1995).
What happened to Ralph?
Ralph made his last dive on February 24, 1996, after Aquarena Springs was bought by Southwest Texas State University and converted to the Aquarena Center for Continuing Education, an eco-tourism attraction. Supposedly none of the Ralphs was slaughtered and eaten, although one reportedly was struck and killed by lightning. Most retired to the Davis farm outside San Marcos, where they grew to 900 or 1000 pounds. The last Ralph wound down his career with a stab at show-biz in Houston and appearances at Texas middle schools; families and schoolkids still come to the Davis farm. Simultaneously Ralph mutated into virtual reality as a central character on Top Mud, a Shattered World fantasy MUD (Multi-User Dimension) on the Internet.
Will swimming pigs ever return to Aquarena Springs?
Not exactly, but police officers do occasionally use the lake bottom for training seminars on underwater evidence recovery.
— Ralph Richardson (no relation), Ralph_FAQ, alt.ralph.the.swimming.pig