The mysteries of Thomas and the Magic Railroad, as investigated and discovered by SiF members! Read here how the story has unfolded, and how seven years on from its original release, Magic Railroad has regained prominence in the hearts of fans.
The rumors about the movie have persisted for years, especially regarding a supposed villain: PT Boomer, also sometimes referred to as ‘Pete Boom’. Boomer could be seen for a split-second in the trailer falling off the viaduct with D-10, seen confronting Burnett Stone in one page of the movie’s coloring book, and speculated as being the author of the ‘huge explosion’ that caused Thomas to tumble down Muffle Mountain in the storybook version of the movie published by Random House. Snippets of evidence here and there. It was comparable to pointing and asking about a long-lost relative seen in family photos, but no one remembers or knows anything about them. Remaining unanswered, interest in the topic would fade away only to resurface once in a while.
PT Boomer references in storybook adaptation (left) and colouring book (right)
That all changed in late February 2007 when SIF member Jim Gratton had the good fortune of finding a copy of the original script for Thomas and the Magic Railroad, dated May 19th 1999. What was written in May 1999 and released theatrically in July 2000 differed greatly in scope, revealing that a number of major plot twists and scenes were cut from the final product. This is how we began our voyage of discovery!
It goes without saying that the revelations made during this journey are the result of the collective effort of SiF members and other contributors whose sharp memory, recollections and encouragement were instrumental in taking us all to our destination. These contributions are acknowledged by name throughout the Magic Railroad site! What follows here then, are the most significant revelations of things that fans missed out on and rediscovered along the way!
All about the intended human antagonist of the film whose role and scenes were dropped from the final cut of the movie!
Prior to the release of Magic Railroad, there were images and information on the official website regarding a human villain within the movie with the moniker: P.T. Boomer. As the months prior to the release wore on, all references to said character were removed and covered up accordingly from the site. The only traces of Boomer now known to still exist within the movie, aside from the presumably vaulted Director's Cut version - are as follows:
PT Boomer is described in the original cut of the script as being "a drifter through choice", having left Indian Valley forty decades ago following the incident which has seen Lady locked up and hidden away from harm in Burnett Stone's Muffle Mountain hideaway. Boomer was intended to be Burnett Stone's adversary, the real culprit responsible for why Lady went too fast and crashed, not Diesel 10 as identified in the theatrical release.
PT Boomer, jealous of the relationship that Burnett had with Tasha (Lily's Grandmother), bullied Burnett into allowing him to take Lady for a run and deliberately crashing her in revenge. After the accident, Boomer fled Indian Valley and Burnett (as we all know) spent years trying to restore her to no avail. Boomer returns to Indian Valley forty years later from parts unknown as a bitter and dark character, hell-bent on completing his revenge by finding and destroying Lady for good.
Boomer's negative energy is also the reason behind Mutt's unease, and the reason for bringing Lily to Shining Time, rather than letting her go on to her intended stop at Muffle Mountain. Boomer spends much of his time throughout the movie confronting Burnett Stone and Billy Two-Feathers, and destructively wandering the mountain looking for Lady.
Boomer has no (said) ownership or connections to Diesel 10, only meeting the mechanical-clawed menace just before the movie's climatic chase scene. Boomer does not believe in magic and places his faith instead in the power of money. When he finds Thomas on Muffle Mountain after setting off an explosion that hurtles him off a precipice, he refuses to perceive Thomas as anything but an oversized toy. Thomas is the reason why Boomer ends up on Sodor through the Magic Railroad portal. In the script he's transported back to Sodor in Thomas' cab, however in the filmed version Boomer is instead carried along behind Thomas' energised Magic Railroad wake.
Ryan Hagan was very fortunate to track down the original person who played the character of PT Boomer - Canadian actor Doug Lennox, who was more than happy to answer our questions regarding his involvement in the Movie and recount his experience on-set:
Yes I spent 6 weeks on the Isle of Man shooting the complete scirpt of "Thomas" and was very proud of my work.
I was told after production that even though my performance was a highlite, my character (Boomer) was too frightening for the young kids
Yes I had filmed all the scenes before hitting the cutting room floor
If you find any ... let me know
I never saw the final cut before the screening ... that was done in Los Angeles and I live in Toronto Canada but yes all my scenes are in the origional, wherever that is ... I was completely involved in all the principal photography and post production prior to the unit moving back to LA. I only saw those missing scenes for looping or clarifying audio
I was told of their decision to cut me via telephone
I hesitate to speculate ... however .... while filming, the DOP and 1st AD as well as most of the crew kept telling me that my performance was making the film my own ... maybe I stole too many scenes from Peter?? (joke)
It's interesting that the gift to cast and crew at the wrap party was a very cool black winter jacket with the logo "Thomas and the Magic Railroad" stitched on the front and a crest of Thomas on the back ... I'm in the process of moving and because the jacket is worn out I was thinking of tossing it. I was considering removing and keeping the logo and crest and maybe giving it to someone with a child who is a Thomas fan ... I also have an original piece of art work from the set designer with autographs on it from the entire cast and some of the crew as well as other scenes without autographs as well as other memorabilia.
Anyway ... I hope this sheds more light on "Boomer" and again keep in touch whenever....
There was always something odd about the crossroads scene in the movie, where a lost biker gets directions from Burnett Stone, and drives off just as Stacy and Lily pull up. Even though this short scene is redubbed, the biker clad in an overcoat presents a dark contrast and appears somewhat menacing.
Yes, this is indeed "PT Boomer" at the Crossroads scene in the movie!
Speculation ran even higher when we discovered the scripted build up to the scene included a heated exchange between PT Boomer and Burnett Stone over Lady's whereabouts. There is also a teasing reference in the script and in Bruce Simpson's storyboards, that PT Boomer's preferred mode of transportation is - a motorcycle.
Here is Doug's response to a follow-up question about the scene:
The scene at the crossroads was shot as in the script and Stone (Peter) and Boomer (me) had a very dramatic confrontation which was one of the gems removed... (Doug Lennox to Ryan - 24 March, 2007)
PT Boomer can be seen again for a second during the movie's climatic chase scene where a figurine representing the character can be spied lying prone atop the rear of Diesel-10 as it races toward the tunnel - see screencapture below.
Boomer figurine lying prone as spotted by SiF's Ci, Sean-Bot and Crow T.
Finally, the image below is from the theatrical trailer that can be found in the Special Features section of both the U.S. and U.K. DVD versions of the movie. Tantalizing evidence of PT Boomer that was inadvertently left in the trailer by the studio!
Compare apparel color & style of this Boomer to that of the motorcyclist at the X-roads scene.
A Compendium of P.T. Boomer's Scenes
The table below summarizes PT Boomer's appearances in the movie's script, and we have every reason to believe that these scenes were filmed. A few scenes (prefixed with an asterisk) were added in later revisions (July) of the 19th May, 1999 script.
Update: 2013-Feb-20: We've discovered the filming of one of Doug Lennox's scenes as PT Boomer in the raw unused news footage taken by the BBC when they covered the movie's filming on the isle of Man in August 13, 1999. Featured only for a few seconds, the footage covers the filming of scene 27AA from the August 9, 1999 version of the script where:
P.T. Boomer is checking through a pile of 'Shining Times' He stops at one - scribbled in the top corner are the words 'Burnett Stone - Muffle Mountain'. Boomer gives a satisfied smile as a young boy collects the pile of newspapers and cycles away.
The two frames above were taken from the clip. During filming it appears that the young boy on a bike became a teenager on roller skates :P
The news footage can be previewed on the AP Archive's website.
Update: 2013-Jul-20: Additional very brief glimpses of PT Boomer's cut scenes were revealed by Japanese Twitter user hohosnowman, found in a British narrated TATMR trailer featured on a Japanese cartoon VHS tape (circa 2000). The scene pictured below of Boomer carrying a box of dynamite takes place in the lead up to his confrontation with Billy where he alludes that he's going to blow up Muffle Mountain. Patch and Lily had just arrived at the station beforehand. In the final cut, it lies between Patch & Lily riding the horse and Lily meeting Jr. the second time at Shining Time Station.
From the July 23, 1999 version of the script - Scene 91
EXT. SHINING TIME STATION - PARKING LOT- DAY
We find P.T. Boomer, who is putting a box on the back of his motorcycle.
The next two scenes of Boomer at the switch and of the explosion itself takes place between Thomas and Lily appearing on Muffle Mountain and the dislodged Thomas sliding down the steep embankment.
The above scene's audio is barely discernable in the Japanese trailer clip, but here's the dialogue from the August 9, 1999 version of the script.
EXT. SHINING TIME - MUFFLE MOUNTAIN - DAY
P.T. Boomer is on the mountain.
I'm going to get my revenge, Burnett Stone - on you - and that engine! Do you know what revenge sounds like?
He sets off a huge explosion.
Lastly, for many years we always wondered and guessed what Boomer's "P.T." stood for. In February 2019, Britt Allcroft revealed that it was a nickname - Passing Through Boomer, given his penchant for not staying in one place for very long.