It was a bright, frigid February 4th in Chicago. So cold that were it not for Russ having been born on this day, I'd not have left the apartment. The night before, the Peter Jackson remake of King Kong was on the TV machine and though not much interested in it, we watched it. Kong always puts me in mind of Kong and the quote I chose for this year was a tip of the pith helmet to the idea of Kong. I placed my quote, neatly folded, in my local video rental shop, Specialty Video, over the plastic sleeve that one must take to the counter to get the DVD of King Kong (1933). Most of the other sleeves contain the artwork that comes with the DVD, but the one for King Kong '33 contained, to my delight, someone's idea of Kong. On a piece of plain cardboard in black marker was drawn a small Empire State Building with a rather impressionistically rendered ape atop it. Little airplanes, like flies, buzzed around the building and in the ape's hand, in an altogether different scale, was a figure in a dress. I may be embellishing now, but there may have been a speech balloon coming out of the figure that said "Help!" I can't tell you how pleased I was.
Here's what the yellow paper said:
I live in a state of surprise much of the time; things others take for granted suddenly amaze me. Moving toward the ever-receding vanishing point I was struck by the frailty of what humans have put together like something out of a box: houses; shops; roads: street lamps; trains and railway stations; aeroplanes and airports. I imagined a gigantic foot stepping on it. Crunch. Of course film-makers imagine that all the time, and build monsters on to the feet.
from Amaryllis Night and Day
Added to the sheet was: "February 4th is Russell Hoban's birthday and this quote was left for you to find as part of a world-wide celebration."