I wouldn’t call it a "local thing"; I would say that it is better described as PERVASIVE. It was little talked about when I was "in" (forever ago), but was discussed in quiet small groups. While I don't recall directly hearing it from the platform, the vague references and quotes such as those that TD mentioned were typical.
The important thing was that the emphasis on the Great Crowd became very heavy; by implication, the "heavenly hope" was phased out. You were supposed to get the message that 1935 was the limit. Of course, all of these things were promoted upon the inspirations of whoever was "driving the message": Russell, Rutherford and Franz, generally.
But there was always an undercurrent of discussing "replacements"; generally it was "reading in between the lines" and was frequently linked to some "Bethel source". (Lego's mention of Franz actually discussing "replacements" is a great find; this amounts to "suspicions confirmed".)
I did discuss this with a number of the "anointed"; they would quote the "1935 party line" and indicate that you could dig those things up by careful reading but would hint that the matter wasn't really settled.
As with all things of such speculative nature, they are not be settled at all by lectures and conjectures. Now when a prophecy times out and really goes bad, that is different: for example, when 2014 is behind us the 'generation scheme' would really go to RIP status for even the worst diehard holdouts.