Boots! Boots! HOME HOME A - Z A - Z
The George Formby story spans a great many years and features many twists and turns. Fascinating and sometimes bizarre details and happenings have been chronicled in researching the Formby legend. Collectors of Formby memorabilia have left no stone unturned in their hunt for new material about the great star. Although any memorabilia collector worth his salt will never stop searching, it seems that, almost 40 year after the death of Formby, there couldn't be much more to find. Perhaps the odd photograph stuck in someone's old scrapbook, but who could really expect something of real importance? Amazingly, a find of major importance has just come to light, thanks to the efforts of American James Mockoski. He has actually managed to uncover a complete version of the film Boots! Boots! which contains around 25 minutes of extra footage! The film, as we know it, has always been a curiosity because the credits include the name of Betty Driver, a young actress whose footage (according to Betty herself) was left on the cutting room floor by order of Beryl Formby. Betty went on enjoy a very successful singing career throughout the war years and even greater success in Britain's longest running soap "Coronation Street. James Mockoski's new find contains all the cut material of Betty Driver, together with numerous new scenes featuring Formby. In an exclusive article for this web-site, James Mockoski takes up the story.... It seems fitting that the year 2000 begins with a time of rediscovery and a chance to look back fondly on those who made England laugh. It is my pleasure to bring to light a film that displays one of England's most celebrated comedians, George Formby, in one of his earliest films. In December of 1999, I met David Wyatt, a film researcher, who claimed  to have a print of Boots! Boots! Upon further research at the East Anglia Film Archive, I discovered that he owned what had to be the original 1934 print, containing over twenty additional sequences. What Formby fans see today is only the 1938 reissue version, with 25 minutes trimmed out by Ambassador Films. After I made this discovery, I worked with Mike Blakeley, grandson of producer John E. Blakeley, and with David Wyatt to uncover a version that is completely different and puts back much of the plot and characters that had been removed. It seems strange when you look at Boots! Boots! today, and at the cast list because there are always questions, such as who are the Roystons, and the Clifford's, and why is Betty Driver still credited. However, with this complete 1934 print, we finally realize what we have been missing. This new reissue restores most or all of the lost footage and runs its original length of 80 minutes. The film has always been criticized and looked down upon, so it is my hope that this new version will change those attitudes. Boots! Boots! will never be considered England's best film, but we should celebrate this film because it turns the camera on the people of the North and gives them a chance to display their talent. Blakeley and Tracey were interested in developing a style of film making which gave their region the comedy they most desired and appreciated. So who am I? Well my name is James Mockoski, and I became interested in a man named Bert Tracey who owned a film studio in Santa Cruz, California, where I live. A few in England know him as the director of Boots! Boots!, but generally Tracey has been something of a mystery. My research has opened up some wonderful opportunities, one of which is the friendship that I have been developing with the George Formby Society. The Boots! Boots! project is currently being looked after by some wonderful people, and it is with their help that this film will soon be brought back. I would also like to open up and appeal to those members of the George Formby Society who may be able to help with any information that may still be out there on Boots! Boots!, such as photos, posters, scripts, or any stories of the making of the film. Any help would greatly aid in my research.  Again thank you, and I hope you will be pleased. James Mockoski
Newly discovered print restores missing scenes
Another chapter was added to the "Boots Boots" saga when Peter Pollard and Society President Dennis Taylor travelled to meet finder of the new ‘Boots’ footage James Mockoski and Mike Blakeley, grandson of the legendary film producer John E. Blakeley. The main object of the meeting was of course to view the recently discovered footage and possibly to obtain a ‘snippet’ to show to the members at the September Convention in the Winter Gardens. I decided that the best preparation for this exercise would be to watch the original film on the night before we travelled so that any extra footage would be more noticeable. We also travelled with the knowledge that the footage wouldn’t look too good as digital restoration is still to take place. After meeting with the James and Mike and viewing a script that James had prepared, we settled down to watch the footage. I was immediately surprised by the good quality of the copy we were viewing, James had warned me that the footage wouldn’t look too good but I think that he doesn’t realise that GFS members have become over the years, quite used to watching blurred out of focus but rare films of their hero. The Dutch copies of "He Snoops To Conquer" were in a far worse state than the film we were watching now. In Brendan Ryan’s classic book "The Works Of George Formby" he states, "This unsophisticated little film has no story line." That of course is changed somewhat by the addition of the new footage and there are new characters within the discovered sections. Ryan also states that, "Although her name is in the credits, Miss (Betty) Driver herself told GFS Vice-Chairman Denis O’Connell that she was not in fact in the film when it was released. She was a little girl of 12 in 1933, engaged to do a song and dance in the film but Beryl Formby was instrumental in having it cut out of the picture." This of course is now not the case as the Betty Driver footage is now included. In Miss Driver’s recently released biography she maintains that she only got as far as rehearsals for the film. James Mockoski has written to her on several occasions but although he has received replies, it is quite evident that Miss Driver wants nothing further to do with "Boots Boots". One thing is certain though, and that is that GFS members will be delighted with any new footage of their hero and rather than have to put up with a taster of the film, the complete footage will be shown on the Saturday evening at the September Convention in Blackpool. In the future, and after digital restoration, it is hoped that members will be able to purchase copies of the film. May I once again congratulate James Mockoski for his brilliant efforts and we must also be grateful to Mike Blakeley for the interest and support he has given to the project.
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Boots! Boots! HOME HOME A - Z A - Z
The George Formby story spans a great many years and features many twists and turns. Fascinating and sometimes bizarre details and happenings have been chronicled in researching the Formby legend. Collectors of Formby memorabilia have left no stone unturned in their hunt for new material about the great star. Although any memorabilia collector worth his salt will never stop searching, it seems that, almost 40 year after the death of Formby, there couldn't be much more to find. Perhaps the odd photograph stuck in someone's old scrapbook, but who could really expect something of real importance? Amazingly, a find of major importance has just come to light, thanks to the efforts of American James Mockoski. He has actually managed to uncover a complete version of the film Boots! Boots! which contains around 25 minutes of extra footage! The film, as we know it, has always been a curiosity because the credits include the name of Betty Driver, a young actress whose footage (according to Betty herself) was left on the cutting room floor by order of Beryl Formby. Betty went on enjoy a very successful singing career throughout the war years and even greater success in Britain's longest running soap "Coronation Street. James Mockoski's new find contains all the cut material of Betty Driver, together with numerous new scenes featuring Formby. In an exclusive article for this web-site, James Mockoski takes up the story.... It seems fitting that the year 2000 begins with a time of rediscovery and a chance to look back fondly on those who made England laugh. It is my pleasure to bring to light a film that displays one of England's most celebrated comedians, George Formby, in one of his earliest films. In December of 1999, I met David Wyatt, a film researcher, who claimed  to have a print of Boots! Boots! Upon further research at the East Anglia Film Archive, I discovered that he owned what had to be the original 1934 print, containing over twenty additional sequences. What Formby fans see today is only the 1938 reissue version, with 25 minutes trimmed out by Ambassador Films. After I made this discovery, I worked with Mike Blakeley, grandson of producer John E. Blakeley, and with David Wyatt to uncover a version that is completely different and puts back much of the plot and characters that had been removed. It seems strange when you look at Boots! Boots! today, and at the cast list because there are always questions, such as who are the Roystons, and the Clifford's, and why is Betty Driver still credited. However, with this complete 1934 print, we finally realize what we have been missing. This new reissue restores most or all of the lost footage and runs its original length of 80 minutes. The film has always been criticized and looked down upon, so it is my hope that this new version will change those attitudes. Boots! Boots! will never be considered England's best film, but we should celebrate this film because it turns the camera on the people of the North and gives them a chance to display their talent. Blakeley and Tracey were interested in developing a style of film making which gave their region the comedy they most desired and appreciated. So who am I? Well my name is James Mockoski, and I became interested in a man named Bert Tracey who owned a film studio in Santa Cruz, California, where I live. A few in England know him as the director of Boots! Boots!, but generally Tracey has been something of a mystery. My research has opened up some wonderful opportunities, one of which is the friendship that I have been developing with the George Formby Society. The Boots! Boots! project is currently being looked after by some wonderful people, and it is with their help that this film will soon be brought back. I would also like to open up and appeal to those members of the George Formby Society who may be able to help with any information that may still be out there on Boots! Boots!, such as photos, posters, scripts, or any stories of the making of the film. Any help would greatly aid in my research.  Again thank you, and I hope you will be pleased. James Mockoski
Newly discovered print restores missing scenes
Another chapter was added to the "Boots Boots" saga when Peter Pollard and Society President Dennis Taylor travelled to meet finder of the new ‘Boots’ footage James Mockoski and Mike Blakeley, grandson of the legendary film producer John E. Blakeley. The main object of the meeting was of course to view the recently discovered footage and possibly to obtain a ‘snippet’ to show to the members at the September Convention in the Winter Gardens. I decided that the best preparation for this exercise would be to watch the original film on the night before we travelled so that any extra footage would be more noticeable. We also travelled with the knowledge that the footage wouldn’t look too good as digital restoration is still to take place. After meeting with the James and Mike and viewing a script that James had prepared, we settled down to watch the footage. I was immediately surprised by the good quality of the copy we were viewing, James had warned me that the footage wouldn’t look too good but I think that he doesn’t realise that GFS members have become over the years, quite used to watching blurred out of focus but rare films of their hero. The Dutch copies of "He Snoops To Conquer" were in a far worse state than the film we were watching now. In Brendan Ryan’s classic book "The Works Of George Formby" he states, "This unsophisticated little film has no story line." That of course is changed somewhat by the addition of the new footage and there are new characters within the discovered sections. Ryan also states that, "Although her name is in the credits, Miss (Betty) Driver herself told GFS Vice-Chairman Denis O’Connell that she was not in fact in the film when it was released. She was a little girl of 12 in 1933, engaged to do a song and dance in the film but Beryl Formby was instrumental in having it cut out of the picture." This of course is now not the case as the Betty Driver footage is now included. In Miss Driver’s recently released biography she maintains that she only got as far as rehearsals for the film. James Mockoski has written to her on several occasions but although he has received replies, it is quite evident that Miss Driver wants nothing further to do with "Boots Boots". One thing is certain though, and that is that GFS members will be delighted with any new footage of their hero and rather than have to put up with a taster of the film, the complete footage will be shown on the Saturday evening at the September Convention in Blackpool. In the future, and after digital restoration, it is hoped that members will be able to purchase copies of the film. May I once again congratulate James Mockoski for his brilliant efforts and we must also be grateful to Mike Blakeley for the interest and support he has given to the project.
Latest news
ALTERNATIVE IMAGE GALLERY ALTERNATIVE IMAGE GALLERY