Do they still have public talks before the Watchtower study?
It was always such a hoot, the public talk. The "Chairman" would introduce the speaker to the members of the public. There were however, very rarely any "members of the public" in the Kingdom Hall. The speaker would then prattle for an hour and quote Scripture that everyone present would have read a zillion times. Nonetheless, the faithful would still look up every Scripture that the speaker referred to, even Matthew 24. 14.
At the end of the talk, the Chairman would return to the platform and urge all the "members of the public" to stay for the Watchtower study, failing which they could have a free booklet or a Bible study.
Some of us regarded the public talk as the least important meeting of the week. Consequently we would sometimes turn up just for the WT study and have to endure the gimlet eye of the disapproving PO.
Personally, I always found the public talk to be the least painful of any of the KH meetings. It required little effort, there was no song back then and no prayer. In particular you didn't have to answer anything. All you had to do was to turn up the occasional Scripture whilst in a semi-trance.
In 1965, the WTBTS decided to liven up the public talks by staging mock heckling during the course of the talk. So it was that we would occasionally witness the sight of a long standing brother suddenly up on his feet demanding to know of the speaker what proof there was of the existence of God. The speaker would smoothly answer the "interruption" of the now red-faced brother whilst the rest of the congregation who were not "in the know" chuckled merrily at the fact that Brother Goodfella had totally lost his marbles.
One instance stands out in my mind of the couple who really were "members of the public" and had just walked in out of curiosity. The wife of the couple lit cigarette after cigarette during the talk. The attendants did not interfere at all and after the talk was over the couple just left and were never heard of again.
Yup, I guess I must have attended close on 800 public talks and those instances were the only 2 I can remember.