I peaked into this HV circuit and its push-pull oscillator. It seems quite simple, primitive,
It appears that before the negative HV appears there is plenty of current to the bases of the two transistors 2N3055 to motivate them to start oscillating.
If HV does not appear, it looks like Q1214 would be saturated, and the two transistors 2N3055 would be conducting plenty and getting hot.
If this is the case, something could be shorting the secondary of the transformer in its load of rectifiers/filters.
It seems strange that the beta of the 2N3055 is so critical. Why would a high value hurt the operation?
And if it is too low, lowering R1214 would inject more base current. A design issue?