How do you open the hood on a 1988 Toyota Camry with a broken hood release?

The hood release mechanism under the hood is very secure from outside the car.

First, remove the plastic grill by removing screws and snap in fasteners. This can be done from the outside and from the front of the grill.

Next, the cover over the release mechanism must be forcibly opened up to access the mechanism inside. There is an existing small opening on the left side of the cover (facing vehicle) that can be widened by using a screw driver or small nose pliers to bend the metal back.

A long, flat tip screwdriver or a skinny punch can be used to reach in to the widened opening to either unhook the spring or push the release lever that the cable would normally pull. To push the release lever, the tool would be held horizontal and pushed to the right (when facing the front of the car). It is not necessary to remove the mechanism in order to open the hood.