The King of Rock 'n' Roll — in costume for "Harum Scarum" (1965)
I've been trying for some time now to nail down a definitive answer to the question of whether Elvis Presley ever appeared in movie footage shot at the Iverson Movie Ranch. That answer was surprisingly elusive, but I believe I finally have it — and the answer is ... Yes!
This shot features Elvis' character, at the center of the frame, running near an Iverson rock that can be recognized from its appearances in other movies, as noted below. The shot does not provide a clear look at Elvis, but it's about as good as it gets as far as actually seeing the King at Iverson in the movie. (You may want to click on the photo to see a larger version.)
Promo still for "Harum Scarum" (1965) — shot on the Lower Iverson
The promotional still, from the collection of film historian Jerry England, makes it clear that Elvis was indeed at Iverson. Whether the action here was a special setup for the photo or was a part of the actual filming doesn't matter. Clearly, the actors are all in costume for the movie, positioned in their same spots from the movie, and they're running through the same sequence that appears in the movie. Add it all up, and it means that's indeed Elvis in the scene in the movie.
"Come On, Cowboys" (1937)
This shot from the Three Mesquiteers movie "Come On, Cowboys" might help explain the origin of the name "E.T." The rock appears from a different angle here than in the Elvis movie, but is once again at the right of the frame.
"E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" (1982)
I find the shape of the rock to be strongly reminiscent of the title character in the Steven Spielberg movie. This shot also features a young Drew Barrymore.
E.T. — the rock — appears in a minor role during an iconic sequence in one of the most high-profile movies filmed at Iverson, John Ford's Great American Western, "Stagecoach." The sequence in which the stagecoach arrives at the Apache Wells outpost, with the Garden of the Gods rock behemoths in the background, also includes the much smaller E.T. — although it would be easy to miss.
"Harum Scarum": Is that Elvis, or a stand-in?
Getting back to "Harum Scarum," I wanted to point out a couple of other shots. The above scene is filmed at Iverson, with Cactus Hill in the background. But as with some of the other shots, it's unclear whether it's Elvis in the scene. His character is riding the second horse in the group, but here again, it could be a stand-in — and in this sequence, where only distant shots are included, my hunch is that this is not Elvis.
Below are some links to DVD versions of "Harum Scarum" and "Stagecoach," along with a link to a streaming version of "Come On, Cowboys," for those who are interested in seeing more of the Iverson Movie Ranch in these movies — or maybe just seeing the movies themselves.