The WT have made the literature (magazines, brochures, invites/leaflets and books) a 'crutch' that the rank-and-file publisher uses as the very reason that the door-to-door work even exists.
The door-to-door work has always been about: "What item of literature are you offering?"
The door-to-door work was/is always about - is it magazines or the literature offer being used today?
While researching the number of Memorial parktakers listed by country as posted here:
I saw the feature 'Topic for Conversation' on the old Kingdom Ministries - a theme, two scriptures and a brief scriptural thought for both - with no 'direct' link to the literature
The feature started in March 1977 and seems to have gone on through to December 1991 - it was basic and simple, but would seem have have given a good framework for a JW to have something specific to say that seemed to change each month (so good for returning back) - look at the last part of the following introductory article about them:
Kingdom Ministry March 1977
Use Topics for Conversation in Field Service
Almost everyone responds to kindness, warmth, and a genuine concern for his welfare. As we approach householders in this manner, we will also want to have something to say that will immediately appeal to them. This is where “Topics for Conversation in Field Service” should prove quite helpful.
Most of us are not pioneers and so we are not out in the field service as often as we would like to be. But when we go, surely we would like to be winsome and discerning in our conversations. Since Topics for Conversation in Field Service will now be featured in Our Kingdom Service, perhaps some questions and answers relative to this feature will be helpful.
Q. Do these topics have to be changed by you each time a new subject is introduced in Our Kingdom Service?
A. No. Perhaps changing three or four times a year may work out well for you personally. This will allow you the time and practice in the field so you can get thoroughly acquainted with them and the Scriptural thoughts presented therewith. This should be helpful in building confidence and ability to present the good news with ease.
Q. How should these topics be introduced?
A. Local current events such as what is happening in the community or on the world or national scene often prove helpful. An example of this is given in “Presenting the Good News” in this issue.
Q. Are we required to stick to these topics at every door?
A. No. While we believe that most of the publishers will find these topics helpful, if you have been able to develop something more effective, more applicable locally, feel free to use it. These are only suggestions and can be used or varied at the discretion of the publisher. Pioneers who are out in the field often will no doubt find it helpful to use variations of this topic or other topics of conversation. And if your territory is covered frequently, you will necessarily vary your themes.
Q. What is our goal in being able to share these topics of conversation? Is it merely placing literature?
A. Not in itself. We want to give a testimony or message to the people. First, we can acquaint householders with God’s Word, the Bible, which points to the real remedy for man’s problems, namely the Kingdom. Secondly, we desire that people use the literature to help them to understand what is in the Bible, since it is usually difficult for them to appreciate its teachings. The topic for conversation is designed to help us to talk to those who will give us a listening ear, so we might stimulate interest in God’s Word.
Example Topic for Conversation
Better Conditions Await Us.
2 Pet. 3:13—New world promised.
Rev. 21:4—Conditions that will exist.
God’s Kingdom—The Hope for Mankind.
Matt. 6:10—We pray for the Kingdom.
Dan. 2:44—What it will do.