Here's a scan of the 1936 yearbook, page 53:
Note under "Memorial", 32,795 attended and 27,006 partook.
These numbers were faithfully repeated in 1988 by the WT:
*** w88 12/15 p. 12 par. 10 Angelic Messages for Our Day ***
10In 1935 attendance worldwide at the Memorial observance of Jesus’ death was 32,795. Of these, 27,006 partook of the emblems as being the remaining ones on earth of the 144,000, whose hope is heavenly.
However, in a 1996 Questions From Readers answer to fluctuations in partaker numbers, the WT reported the following:
*** w96 8/15 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***
The facts over the decades reflect both the completion of the calling of the anointed and Jehovah’s blessing on the growing "great crowd," who hope to survive "the great tribulation." (Revelation 7:9, 14) For example, at the Memorial celebration in 1935, attended by 63,146, those partaking of the emblems in evidence of their profession to be anointed numbered 52,465. Thirty years later, or in 1965, the attendance was 1,933,089, while the partakers decreased to 11,550. Moving 30 years closer, in 1995 the attendance jumped to 13,147,201, but only 8,645 partook of the bread and the wine. (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) Clearly, as the decades passed, the number of those professing to be of the remnant greatly decreased—some 52,400 in 1935; 11,500 in 1965; 8,600 in 1995. However, those with earthly hopes have been blessed, and their number has increased abundantly.
This appears to be a fabrication to pad the numbers and make the fact that there currently remains around 8,500 partakers more believable.
But wait! Does even 27,006 represent the number actual anointed in 1935? Even the WT admits that a number of the partakers in 1935 were actually members of the Great Crowd:
***yb75 p. 157 Part 2—United States of America ***After the 1935 convention, some who previously partook of the emblematic bread and wine at observances of the Lord’s Evening Meal ceased partaking. Why? Not due to unfaithfulness, but because they now realized that their hopes were earthly, not heavenly.
This explains the big dip in partaker numbers down below 20,000 by the end of the 1930s.
So there you have it, the 8,500 "anointed" today are supposedly the survivors/replacements from a pool of less than 27,000 in 1935.